Thursday, January 27, 2022

FC Barcelona go down 0-1 to Malaga

Barcelona could have moved to the top of league table but unfortunately it wasn't to be.

By: Reuters | Barcelona |
February 22, 2015 2:46:46 am
FC Barcelona, Barcelona, Barcelona v Malaga, Malaga v Barcelona, Spanish La Liga, Spanish La Liga 2015, Spanish La Liga Real Madrid, Barcelona Real Madrid, Football News, Football  The stage was set for the Catalan side to move two points ahead of Real Madrid, who face Elche on Sunday, but they lacked the slick link-up play that had brought them 11 wins a row. (Source: Reuters)

A lacklustre Barcelona squandered the chance to go top of La Liga after crashing to a shock 1-0 home defeat by Malaga on Saturday.

The stage was set for the Catalan side to move two points ahead of Real Madrid, who face Elche on Sunday, but they lacked the slick link-up play that had brought them 11 wins a row.

Seventh-placed Malaga took a surprise lead after Dani Alves tried to nonchalantly side-foot volley a back-pass but Juanmi nipped in and rounded keeper Claudio Bravo before slotting into an empty net after seven minutes.

Lionel Messi had scored 12 goals in the previous eight games but he was unable to provide the spark as Barca dominated the possession but could not find a way past a steadfast Malaga defence.

“It wasn’t the best game not only from Leo but all the team,” Barca midfielder Sergio Busquets told reporters.

“We needed to create more chances and goals but it wasn’t possible. We are on the right lines but the early goal was a big blow and then after that they (Malaga) were very solid at the back.”

Barca remained a point off Real at the top while later on Saturday third-placed Atletico Madrid, seven points off the pace, are at home to Almeria.

A late Pablo Piatti strike gave Valencia a 2-1 victory over Cordoba that puts them level on 50 points with Atletico.

Nabil Ghilas converted a penalty, following a foul by Nicolas Otamendi on Heldon Ramos, to bring Cordoba level midway through the second half after Andre Gomes’ opener.

However, Piatti fortuitously got the winner nine minutes from the end as he struck a volley into the ground and it looped over Mikel Saizar into the goal.

Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez were all in Barca’s starting lineup as coach Luis Enrique decided not to rest any of his star forwards ahead of the trip to Manchester City in the Champions League last 16 on Tuesday.

“We will face a different type of team in the Champions League. It will be a difficult game but we need to keep going and playing the way we are doing,” Busquets added.

It was a rash decision from Alves that led to the opening goal but Barca nearly hit back immediately through Rafinha whose drive from the edge of the area was cleared off the line.

The expected onslaught from Barca never materialised and most surprising was the performance of Messi who has looked sharp in recent weeks but gave the ball away repeatedly.

Substitute Pedro Rodriguez wasted a late chance to grab an equaliser when his shot from inside the area hit the side netting.

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