Malaga Shock Barca
BARCELONA delivered one of their worst performances of the season and Lionel Messi had his first off day of the year as Luis Enrique’s team were beaten 1-0 at home by Malaga just three days before they face Manchester City.
If Manuel Pellegrini wants a masterclass in how to play Barcelona he need only look to the way his old club have played them this season.
They drew 0-0 at La Rosaleda earlier in the season and never looked into too much trouble at the Camp Nou after Juanmi put them ahead on seven minutes after a mistake by Dani Alves.
Barcelona looked fragile at the back with Malaga’s lightning breaks exposing their high defensive line. They were second to everything in midfield and with Messi and Neymar strangely below par they blew their big chance to go top of La Liga.
Barcelona started brightly enough with Suarez forcing several corners but from the second Malaga broke away to score.
Carlos Kameni saved Suarez’ header and the former Espanyol keeper, booed for his ties to Barça’s Catalan rivals, set-up the first goal of the game with a long kick down the pitch.
It looked harmless enough as it dropped out of the sky with Alves underneath it. But the full-back miscontrolled it as he tried to send it back to keeper Claudio Bravo.
Malaga’s 21-year-old striker Juanmi pounced on the error and with Bravo slow to come out and cover Alves’ mistake the forward was able to slip it past him and make it 1-0.
Barça did their best to respond immediately but Kameni came out to clear an Alba cross ahead of Suarez who complained the keeper had used his elbows as both players went for the ball. Rafinha then had a shot blocked by Weligton on the line. The Barcelona midfielder was then booked for bringing down Recio as things went from bad to worse for the home side.
Barcelona were finding no way through Malaga’s two banks of four defence and the tactic of hanging high balls up for Suarez was proving food and drink to Kameni who dominated his area.
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