Málaga CF continue to look like UEFA Champions League naturals after a sublime pair of Eliseu goals helped the newcomers record another hugely impressive victory away against RSC Anderlecht.
Having swatted aside FC Zenit St Petersburg 3-0 on matchday one, Manuel Pellegrini's men gave another indication of their developing pedigree with a dominant display in Brussels. Eliseu was first to make the pressure tell with a blistering strike on the cusp of half-time before swapping power for finesse to chip in his second – and Málaga's third – after Joaquín had converted a 57th-minute penalty.
Anderlecht ended the game understandably bewildered, but they had matched their opponents for tidy passing in the opening exchanges. A measure of urgency was nonetheless lacking from both teams, and with neither defence unduly rushed it took a long-range Eliseu effort after 15 minutes to really set pulses racing. Silvio Proto flung himself left, but the ball swerved wide and the danger passed.
The visitors scented blood, however, and Anderlecht's goalkeeper was soon required to smother a low Joaquín shot, before later rushing off his line to frustrate the same player. Martín Demichelis then headed the wrong side of the post from a corner and Proto denied Isco from distance as Málaga pressed their opponents back, increasingly slipping between the lines.
That pattern was no better encapsulated than by a wonderfully worked free-kick as the interval approached, Eliseu shaping to shoot yet sliding the ball to Joaquín, whose back-heel released Javier Saviola in the area. If Proto saved superbly with one hand on that occasion, he could only stand and watch as Eliseu finished the half with a moment of magic, slamming a bouncing ball high into the net from 20 metres after a corner had been only partially cleared.
While that goal left the home fans stunned, Anderlecht coach John van den Brom was forced to think pragmatically, bringing Sacha Kljestan on for Massimo Bruno after the break to tighten things up. His team's situation only worsened, however, Joaquín converting from the spot after Cheikhou Kouyaté had brought down foraging left-back Nacho Monreal.
Seven minutes later Málaga added their third, Isco's deft pass freeing Eliseu and the Portuguese winger chipping adroitly over Proto. Guillaume Gillet headed over at the other end, yet the Boquerones still looked more likely to score next, with Proto having to rebuff Manuel Iturra. The Group C leaders next host AC Milan on 24 October, when Anderlecht visit Zenit.
©UEFA.com 1998-2014. All rights reserved.