La Liga: Wins for Atletico Madrid, Valencia and Almeria
Last Updated: 04/01/14 10:56pm
Koke: Midfielder's goal sent Atletico Madrid top
Atletico Madrid went top of La Liga following the winter break, while Juan Antonio Pizzi started life as Valencia coach on a winning note.
A second-half goal from reported Manchester United target Koke was enough to give Atletico Madrid all three points in a tight game at Malaga.
The winner arrived on 70 minutes when Diego Costa squared the ball from the left-hand side of the box to Adrian, who forced a save from Willy Caballero and the loose ball fell into the path of Koke, who lashed it into the empty net.
The victory sends Diego Simeone's side to the top of the Primera Division for at least 24 hours and three points ahead of Barcelona, who are due to entertain Elche on Sunday.
Pizzi enjoyed the ideal start to life as new Valencia coach after seeing his charges earn a 2-0 derby victory over city rivals Levante.
Valencia took the lead on 42 minutes when Loukas Vyntra's defensive header from a Juan Bernat cross only went as far as Pablo Piatti inside the area and he took the ball down on his chest before smashing a left-footed strike past Keylor Navas and into the far corner.
Sofiane Feghouli added a second on 73 minutes when the Algeria international picked the ball up and raced into the area, where he stepped outside Issam El Adoua before neatly dinking his shot over Navas and in off the underside of the bar.
Real Valladolid and Real Betis shared the spoils in an exciting albeit goalless draw at the Jose Zorilla stadium, a result that does little to help either team's precarious situation in the Primera Division.
Almeria moved away from the bottom three after enjoying a 3-0 win at home to Granada.
Sebastian Dubarbier opened the scoring for Almeria on 14 minutes and Verza doubled the advantage from the penalty spot on 28 minutes.
A 79th minute effort from Aleix Vidal wrapped up the scoring to lift Almeria up to 14th in the table, a point and a place behind Granada.