Barcelona went into the game against Malaga following a 1-0 victory over Athletic Club in the previous match-week and were looking to collect another 3 points in the first home game at the Camp Nou to create a point gap over eternal rivals Real Madrid who drew with Sporting Gijon last Sunday.
For the second time this La liga season, Thomas Vermaelen started at the back alongside Marscherano, while up front, Neymar returned to the starting eleven following his recovery from the mumps which kept him away from the Spanish Supercup match as well as the La Liga opening game.
In each of the league matches against Malaga last season, Barcelona had failed to score a goal, and it was looking very likely that this streak would continue as Barcelona were unable to find a goal throughout the first half despite their complete dominance of possession as well as two failed penalty appeals from the Catalan club.
The second half told the same story as Malaga’s Cameroonian goalkeeper Carlos Kameni denied Messi 4 times.
Barcelona’s South American front three continued to press and attempt to link together to create a clear goal opportunity, but were seemingly unable to handle Malaga’s determined defensive display.
Malaga were able to find some decent counter attacking opportunities, but they were never able to commit enough men forward for support and nothing came of those chances. As it were, Malaga looked content to defend deep and run down the clock to earn themselves a draw away from home.
This was not to be however, as Thomas Vermaelen turned out to be the unlikely hero for Barcelona when Luis Suarez’s cross was parried by Kameni straight into Vermaelen’s path who promptly volleyed the ball into the net at the 73rd minute of the match.
It would be difficult for Malaga to come back from that as they would then need bring men forward to attack which would in turn open up their defense, and that is a very big risk when facing a front three consisting of Messi, Suarez and Neymar.
Barcelona were able to control the rest of the game and they will be happy to extend their win-streak in La Liga to two games.
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