BARCELONA, Spain — Malaga held on to beat Athletic Bilbao 1-0 to kick off the Spanish league on Saturday and give new coach Javi Gracia a winning debut at La Rosaleda Stadium, although the game was marred by two red cards in the final minutes.
Malaga scored in the 34th minute when Luis Alberto converted the rebound from his own missed penalty after goalkeeper Gorka Iraizoz blocked his spot kick.
Iraizoz had fouled Roque Santa Cruz in the area after the Malaga striker poached Bilbao defender Carlos Gurpegui's backpass.
Malaga finished with nine men after Sergio "Duda" Barbosa and Vitorino Antunes both received red cards with less than three minutes to play.
Iraizoz had a headed goal waived off for a foul in the final moments after the Bilbao goalie had come forward in a desperate attempt to find the equalizer.