MALAGA, Spain (AP) -Malaga rose into the Champions League positions in the Spanish league on Monday after beating 10-man Racing Santander 3-0 on Monday.
Racing was a man down from the second minute after Francisco Perez received a red card for pulling down Jose Rondon with only the goalkeeper to beat.
Mario Fernandez saved the penalty attempt by Santi Cazorla, but the hosts dominated the rest of the way.
Francisco "Isco" Alarcon curled a right-footed shot into the corner of the net for Malaga's 22nd-minute opener.
Cazorla added another from a pass by Enzo Maresca in the 64th, and substitute striker Ruud Van Nistelrooy headed in to seal the win in the 84th.
"The league isn't over, there are seven games to go. But it's very important to be in third place," Malaga coach Manuel Pellegrini said. "It isn't easy reaching this point in front of clubs like Sevilla, Atletico Madrid and Valencia."
Malaga dispossessed Valencia of third place for the first time in 21 rounds. After 13 games without a win, Racing is seven points from safety.
"We aren't capable of winning, and the only thing we can do is keep working to find solutions," Racing coach Alvaro Cervera said.
At the weekend, league leader Real Madrid's advantage over Barcelona was cut to four points after drawing 0-0 with Valencia. Lionel Messi scored his 59th and 60th goals of the season to help the defending champions to a 4-1 win at Zaragoza.
Also, it was: Getafe 2, Sporting Gijon 0; Rayo Vallecano 6, Osasuna 0; Espanyol 2, Real Sociedad 2; Real Betis 3, Villarreal 1; Levante 2, Atletico Madrid 0; Mallorca 0, Granada 0 and Athletic Bilbao 1, Sevilla 0.