BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Deportivo La Coruna beat visiting Malaga 1-0 thanks to Luis "Pizzi" Afonso's second-half goal, giving new coach Domingos Paciencia a victorious debut in the Spanish league on Saturday.
Deportivo's first win in over two months was only its third in 18 rounds. But it was good enough to pull it out of last place after Osasuna fell to the bottom of the standings through a 1-0 loss at Sevilla.
"This win is a boost for us, (but) it's only one win," said Pizzi. "We have to focus on the next game to get more points because we sure do need them."
Deportivo outplayed fourth-place Malaga throughout, with only goalkeeper Willy Caballero and the woodwork keeping the hosts scoreless until Pizzi broke through in the 57th minute at Riazor Stadium.
Pizzi, who hit the upright earlier with a free kick, dribbled into the area and wrong-footed defender Martin Demichelis before firing in off the post.
Deportivo defender Carlos Marchena ensured the much-needed three points with a timely intervention to disrupt Francisco "Isco" Alarcon's point-blank attempt in the final minutes.
Paciencia, a former Portuguese player who managed Sporting Lisbon and Braga, replaced fired coach Jose Oltra last Sunday.
Paciencia shared credit for the win with his predecessor, whose attacking style proved misguided for the promoted club. Paciencia appeared to put more emphasis on defense in his first match with his players taking less risks going forward.
"Four training sessions aren't very many. There was work done here by the coach who came before me," said Paciencia. "Each one has his style of play. (But) I have to thank Oltra for the work he did."
Malaga continued to struggle scoring on the road, where it has just five goals compared to 23 at home. It was its first loss in four rounds.
Elsewhere, Levante beat 10-man Athletic Bilbao 3-1 to close in on Spain's top-four Champions League places, while Valencia also came from behind to win 2-1 at 10-man Granada and move into eighth place after its first successive victories this season.
Levante's sixth win in nine home games this season lifted it to within one point of fifth-place Real Betis and Malaga.