Málaga's attacking prowess and the quality of individuals allowed them to get their confidence back and beat Granada comfortably this evening. Juan Anquela's team lacked sharpness, despite looking assured and enjoying the better chances, especially in the first half.
Granada came to La Rosaleda with a fair few problems, none more pressing than their position in the Liga. Nevertheless, other teams like Real Sociedad had managed to breathe new life into their campaigns with wins on the Costa del Sol after arriving there with very slim chances.
The away team started with the necessary bite, unhesitating and finding a better rhythm than Málaga. Ighalo came close with a shot that was deflected away; from the resulting corner Diakhaté's excellent header forced Caballero to make a heroic save.
Málaga surprisingly seemed to be struggling to create fluid moves in attack, with Portillo scarcely touching the ball and Isco and Joaquín deprived of space.
Granada on the other hand kept undoing their opponents, and Ighalo had another clear chance which he wasted. Their dominion lasted only twenty-five minutes, the time it took for Málaga to take control.
A minute later, Diakhaté's slip in an attempted pass to a teammate gifted the ball to Joaquín, who put it past Toño. Málaga suddenly seemed more incisive and involved, and it felt like the game had changed completely.
Granada tried to launch quick counter-attacks to find a response, but now they couldn't find gaps in their opponents' lines. Gámez's effort struck the bar before Saviola got on the end of Portillo's pass to get free and slide a low shot home for the second of the game (33rd minute).
It was an exhibition of clinical finishing from Málaga, who had converted both of their scoring chances against a Granada who could have easily pulled one back through Ighalo, Iriney, Torje and Siqueira on four separate occasions. But thanks to the goalkeeper Caballero, ineffectiveness and bad luck they went into the break 2-0 down.
Manuel Pellegrini took off Monreal and brought the Chilean Manuel Iturra into the centre-midfield pairing, switching Eliseu to left back for the home team. His opposite number Anquela substituted Dani Benítez for Jaime.
Málaga now looked more organised, and were leaving less space. Granada looked out of ideas in attack, and the game entered a relatively insipid period for some minutes, with few chances.
Ighalo hit the post in the 67th minute, something which proved to be a wake-up call for Málaga, who once again took the game by the scruff of the neck courtesy of some fine play from Joaquín and Portillo.
The three points were sealed in the 75th minute, when Joaquín's free-kick was turned goalwards by Welington, the ball brushing Camacho's head before finding the top corner of the net.
Granada's pace dropped at this point, Anquela's men disconsolate to see so little reward for so much effort. Málaga, meanwhile kept pressing and took advantage of some lazy defending to score a fourth through Santa Cruz, from Buonanotte's pass.