MX23RW : Thursday, February 25 16:10:05| >> :600:105331:105331:
Apr 14, 2014 at 9pm UK at San Mames
Athletic Bilbao
3-0
Malaga
Aduriz (4', 46'), Herrera (62')
FT(HT: 1-0)

Result: Athletic Bilbao cruise past Malaga to strengthen top-four hopes

Athletic Bilbao take another step towards Champions League qualification courtesy of a comprehensive 3-0 win over Malaga.

Athletic Bilbao have kept their stranglehold on the final Champions League qualifying place courtesy of a comprehensive 3-0 victory over Malaga this evening.

The hosts made a perfect start to the match as they took the lead within four minutes of kickoff when Aritz Aduriz sent a glancing header flashing past the keeper from Markel Susaeta's corner.

Athletic Bilbao's forward Aritz Aduriz celebrates after scoring during the Spanish league football match Athletic Club Bilbao vs Malaga CF at the San Mames stadium in Bilbao on April 14, 2014© Getty Images

Aduriz should have doubled his side's lead and his own personal tally midway through the half as he latched on to a cross inside the box, but this time he put his effort wide of the target.

There was no way he could miss at the start of the second half, however, as he tapped home from close range to make it 2-0 just 33 seconds after the restart.

Malaga's first real opening came 10 minutes later when Sergi Darder nodded a cross towards goal, only to see his header go just wide.

Aduriz almost had a hat-trick just before the hour mark when his first-time effort drew a fine stop from Wilfredo Caballero in the Malaga goal.

The hosts wrapped up the points just four minutes later, however, getting their third of the night as Caballero allowed Ander Herrera's mis-hit volley from the edge of the box to squirm past him and over the line.

Malaga had a good chance to get a consolation goal 15 minutes from time when Roque Santa Cruz was found with a cross into the box, but he planted his header well wide.

Bilbao could have added insult to injury late on as Iker Muniain was played through on goal, but some fine defending denied the hosts a fourth.

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Malaga's forward Juanmi celebrates after scoring during the Spanish league football match Malaga CF vs Athletic Club Bilbao at the Rosaleda stadium in Malaga on November 25, 2013
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