Lionel Messi watches at home after birth of third son live score of Malaga 0-2 Barcelona

Málaga MÁLAGA 0 2 BARÇA Barcelona
HT 0-2
  • Samu García30
  • Luis Suárez15
  • Philippe Coutinho28

5 things we learned

Philippe Coutinho scored a brilliant backheel goal as Barcelona beat Malaga to move 11 points clear at the top of La Liga, even without Lionel Messi.

The Argentine star was off on daddy duty after the birth of his third son, but Luis Suarez broke the deadlock in the 15th minute after a superb cross from Jordi Alba.

Coutinho extended the lead with his majestic flick, set up after fine work by Ousmane Dembele, before Malaga had Samu Garcia sent off for a horrifying lunge at Jordi Alba on the half-hour mark.

Malaga should have pulled one back but Youssef En-Nesyri headed wide when well placed before the break.

Barcelona played on auto-pilot after the break, conserving energy for the Champions League clash with Chelsea next week.

Here are the five key talking points…

(Image: REX/Shutterstock)

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First-half goals from Luis Suarez and Philippe Coutinho help Barcelona open up an 11-point lead at the LaLiga summit as they cruise to a straightforward three points against Malaga – down to 10 men after 30 minutes as Samu Garcia was sent off for a malicious challenge on Jordi Alba.


There will be just two minutes added on at the end of this match.

Full credit to Malaga, who haven’t given up fighting here despite finding themselves in a very tough predicament after just 30 minutes. They easily could have folded, but have not done so and the fans at La Rosaleda are voicing their appreciation.

Success goes down in the penalty area following a decent break from the hosts, but the referee has no interest in his penalty appeals – and for good reason.

Luis Suarez shows a bit of frustration, leaving his leg out to trip up Miquel after failing to get onto the end of a cross. That will see him pick up a yellow card, which means he will be suspended for next weekend’s visit from Athletic Club.

Barcelona’s final change sees Aleix Vidal replace Dembele.

Success holds the ball up well on the end of a confident spell in possession by Malaga, before being fouled by Gomes, as he wins a free-kick in a threatening area. Rosales sends a cross in, but his delivery lacks pace and is easily dealt with.

STAT: The last 13 Barcelona goals against Malaga in LaLiga have been scored by different players.

Brown Ideye also enters the fray here, at the expense of En-Nesyri.

A double-change for Malaga at the top of their attack. The first change sees Isaac Success replace Rolan.

Another chance for Barcelona from a free-kick, and it’s Suarez who takes again. The angle isn’t ideal this time, and although the contact is better, he doesn’t really threaten to hit the target as his effort drifts wide of the near post.

A second Barcelona substitution sees Jordi Alba give way for Lucas Digne.

Another wasteful dead ball opportunity from Suarez.

He’s got no chance of replacing Messi when he’s back.

Suarez reacts with frustration.

(Image: REX/Shutterstock)

The visitors appear content on walking through the last 20 minutes as they aim to conserve their energy ahead of their date with Chelsea Wednesday night. This game is in the bag and they’re ready to walk out of La Rosaleda with another three points.

Barcelona make their first change as Andre Gomes replaces Sergi Roberto.

(Image: REX/Shutterstock)

Jimenez at it again! The keeper is having a night to remember! Coutinho has eyes for goal again as he bends a lovely effort around a defender and in towards the far post from 20 yards, but Jimenez flies through the air to make the save!

Barcelona are enjoying some entertaining build-up play in attack, but it’s all a bit too cute. One too many passes has seen a number of attacks fizzle out, as they search for the perfect goal as opposed to actually killing the game off.

STAT: Only four teams had collected 13 or fewer points after 27 league games, like Malaga this season, (three points for a win) and all of them were relegated.

What a first touch! Lovely from Roberto to bring that ball down, before teeing up Dembele. The forward gets plenty of venom behind that first-time effort, but Jimenez sticks with it to make a smart save. The Malaga keeper has been excellent tonight.

Better, this, from the hosts! Some decent play on the front foot, plus a mix-up between Ter Stegen and Pique, sees them win a corner. That gets the crowd going a bit at La Rosaleda – they’ve had little else to cheer about. Their joy is short-lived, however, as the set-piece amounts to nothing.

A first change of the night sees Malaga bring on Maxime Lestienne to replace Castro.

A bit of possession here for the visitors, but nothing of real note as they struggle to get into the final third. Barcelona win the ball back and get forward straight away, Coutinho lining up a strike but getting the contact wrong as it sails over.

Great vision! That’s a fine piece of improvisation from Dembele, who passes up the chance for a shot to clip in the perfect cross for Umtiti at the far post, but the defender sends his free header straight at Jimenez! He’s not happy with himself for failing to kill off the game there when he really should have.

One-way traffic here as Barcelona have set up camp in attack and are showing no signs of packing up. Malaga are coming under consistent pressure, with little respite on offer for their defence.

STAT: Jordi Alba has provided nine assists this season in all competitions, more than any other La Liga defender.

Suarez with a great chance from a free-kick.

It’s 25 yards out and slightly right of goal…

…straight into the wall!

Suarez claims responsibility, but he sends his effort crashing into the wall! Not very Messi-esque from Suarez, though the striker is certainly capable of better.

Iturra crashes into the back of Suarez as he goes into the book, but the bigger worry will be the ensuing free-kick which comes in an incredibly dangerous position for the visitors. Without Messi tonight, who will take it?

JUST WIDE! All Barcelona to start this second half, as Jordi Alba makes a vintage run down the left, played through by Coutinho, before hanging a cross in for Paulinho. A defensive touch breaks it up, but it only goes as far as Dembele, who lashes a volley just wide of the near post!

Here we go again…

Luis Suarez scored his first career goal against Malaga and Philippe Coutinho would double their lead shortly after. Malaga’s misery continued as Samu Garcia saw red for a vicious challenge on Jordi Alba, leaving Barcelona well on course to widen their lead at the LaLiga summit.


There will be one minute added on at the end of this first half.

Suarez shows great skill and determination to dribble his way through a crowd of defenders, but just as he’s about to go clean through on goal Miquel is able to stick a foot in to poke the ball behind for a goal-kick! That was vital to deny Barca a third.

(Image: REX/Shutterstock)

Another fine save from Jimenez! Well he really has helped keep this scoreline respectable in the first half. Coutinho is teed up in space just to the left of goal and tries to pick out the far corner with a first-time effort, but Jimenez flies through the air to parry!

LIFTED OVER! Another big chance for the hosts as En-Nesyri makes a strong fun forward despite being completely outnumbered, before inadvertently rolling a pass across for Lacen, who has a clear sight of goal from 20 yards, but skies his effort!

A little update on Jordi Alba, who appears to be moving just fine out there again after receiving some treatment. That’s great to see if you’re Ernesto Valverde, who would hate to be without him against Chelsea this week.

SHOCKING MISS! That was a sitter for En-Nesyri, who was picked out by a lovely cross from Iturra, the midfielder doing so well to win the ball in the first place. The striker was gifted a wide-open net, but bounces his header wide!

STAT: Ernesto Valverde has only lost four of his 15 games as a manager in La Liga against Malaga (W9 D2), all four at La Rosaleda; Jose Gonzalez has lost both Barcelona meetings in the competition.