MADRID, Sept. 18 (Xinhua) -- Malaga midfielder Francisco Izco was the hero of the night as the Spanish side enjoyed a triumphant start to their Champions League campaign with a 3-1 win over Zenit St Petersburg.
The former Valencia player scored an early goal before adding a second 15 minutes from time to ensure a fine home win for a side with little European experience.
The home side in their first Champions League appearance could hardly have dreamed of a better start as Izco scored a splendid opening goal. The former Valencia youngster cut in from the left wing and unleashed a stunning left foot shot into the far corner of the Zenit net after just three minutes.
Hulk was close to leveling for the Russians barely a minute later, but his shot from the edge of the penalty area rebounded off the Malaga post.
Details such as that can change the destiny of a match and instead of finding the scores level at 1-1, Malaga soon found themselves 2-0 ahead.
New signing Javier Saviola brought the ground to its feet with his second goal in just two appearances for the club. Right back, Jesus Gamez sent in a pinpoint cross from the right and Saviola controlled and scored from the edge of the six-yard box.
Malaga were flying and Saviola almost scored a second after 20 minutes, before Zenit began to find their feet and the game became more even.
Malaga keeper, Willy Caballero made a good save from Alexander Kerzhakov four minutes from time and a minute later he did well to stop a header from Roman Shirokov.
The home side started the second half brightly with Eliseu looking dangerous on the wing, although Caballero was the busier of the two keepers until Izco added Malaga's third with a magnificent shot from the edge of the Zenit area into the top corner of the net.
The home fans celebrated by chanting the name of coach Manuel Pellegrini and enjoying the closing minutes of a historic night on the south coast of Spain.