clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

La Liga: FC Barcelona 0-1 Malaga CF: Match Review

A recap of Barcelona's disappointing home defeat to Malaga at the Camp Nou

David Ramos/Getty Images

FC Barcelona put in one of their worst performances of the season to date on Saturday afternoon, as their 11-match winning streak crashed to an end with the visit of Malaga CF, who shocked the Camp Nou crowd by claiming a narrow 0-1 victory. Even in the midst of one of their worst spells of the season, Malaga were disciplined in defense and ruthless on the counter-attack, stifling the hosts and their star-studded line-up for the second time this season.

With this defeat, the pressure on Luis Enrique and Barcelona will build once again, particularly if Real Madrid should take advantage tomorrow and extend their lead at the top of La Liga with a win against Elche CF. While this was a disappointing result, Barça cannot afford to reflect on this for too long; they must simply move forward and commit to an improvement next time round. Heaven knows that a repeat performance like this will not be enough in midweek against Manchester City.






Total Shots



Shots on Target












Yellow Cards



Red Cards



Even with a midweek UEFA Champions League trip to England to contend with, FC Barcelona head coach Luis Enrique named a strong starting line-up for the visit of Malaga CF. Granted, Barça made seven changes to the side that defeated Levante 5-0 last weekend, but the players retained in the starting XI were amongst the best and most key personnel: Lionel Messi, Neymar, Sergio Busquets and Claudio Bravo.

Rotating back into the side after suspension, illness and rotation were Dani Alves, Andrés Iniesta, Gerard Piqué, Jordi Alba and Luis Suarez, while Rafinha Alcântara was also recalled to the midfield after his recent run of good form. The final piece in the puzzle was French centre-half Jeremy Mathieu; it was a statement selection from Lucho – surely it would be enough to secure the three points and a temporary return to the top of La Liga?


Barcelona started the match well; right from the outset there was a visible sense of urgency about our passing and movement. The tempo was good and individually, the likes of Neymar and Lionel Messi were looking bright and lively with their first few touches of the ball. Everything was looking rosy, and it seemed like merely a matter of time until Barça made their breakthrough.

Then again, when did things ever go according to the script? It was wishful thinking to believe that this was really going to be a straight-forward afternoon’s work; one moment of madness, one lapse in concentration was all it took for Barcelona’s gameplan to be undone and for Malaga to take the lead.

A simple long ball forward from Carlos Kameni and a poor, under-hit backpass from Dani Alves. That was all Malaga needed; Juanmi utilised his electric pace to chase down the ball and showed great composure to round the onrushing Claudio Bravo and slot the ball into the back of the net.

The Camp Nou had been silenced: Malaga were ahead.

Barça tried not to waste any time with their response. Going behind was an unwelcome surprise and a reality that the Blaugrana preferred to avoid or at least rectify as soon as possible. In recent weeks, we’ve gotten pretty good at that, finding an immediate response and it seemed as though we would again. A corner was only partially cleared into the path of Rafinha, who raced onto the loose ball and fired a powerful volley at goal. His shot was low and accurate, but blocked on the line by Weligton.

Was it going to be another one of those nights at the Camp Nou?

Well, it was certainly shaping up that way as through half an hour of play, Barcelona may have dominated possession but had struggled to convert that advantage into chances. Rafinha’s shot aside, neither Carlos Kameni nor the Malaga defense had really been called into action.

Meanwhile, at the other end it was Claudio Bravo who was called upon to make the biggest save of the match, parrying away Ricardo Horta’s venomous effort that was assisted on a fast-break by the bright Samu Castelliejo. Barça were not playing well and quite frankly didn’t deserve to be level on the basis of this performance. An improvement was needed, and fast.


Barça returned from the half-time interval with a renewed sense of urgency and clearly some extra motivation. This match was far from over and we clearly possessed the talent required to turn the score around and climb back into top spot in La Liga. After all, at the end of the day that was what this match was all about: placing Real Madrid under pressure, not allowing them a chance to extend their lead in the title race.

Immediately, Malaga were penned back into their own defensive third, although from the first half it was apparent that they were quite comfortable there. What we needed was a little more individual brilliance – and of course, improved movement and a quicker tempo to our play. We got that in spades after the restart; bright dribbles from Neymar and Luis Suarez for instance but still no chances to speak of.

An hour had passed at the Camp Nou, and still Kameni hadn’t had to make a particularly taxing save. It was all too easy for the visitors, and Luis Enrique made a change in the hope that it would spark that improvement from the Blaugrana. Ivan Rakitić replaced Rafinha Alcântara and minutes later, Pedro Rodriguez came on in place of Andrés Iniesta.

A bold, offensive decision from our head coach; but we needed to do something to try and change our fortunes – purely because Plan A was not working in the slightest. The final change saw Javier Mascherano replace Dani Alves; at this stage, we were just experimenting – trying anything we could think of to change the game.

Yet none of it was making the blindest bit of difference. Rather than noting down chances and near-misses, I was making notes about a yellow card for Gerard Piqué – his fifth of the season to rule him out of next weekend’s trip to Granada. There was a chance to speak of towards the latter stages of the match – but that was cruelly wasted by Pedro who deceived many-a Culé by firing his shot into the side-netting.

Looks can be deceiving; whether it’s the net rippling as a consequence of a shot into the side-netting, or whether it’s a set of results in a team’s season. The only question with FC Barcelona is this: are we the team that just won 11 on the bounce, or are we this side that struggled to create any chances of note against Malaga?

The answer may lie in Tuesday’s clash with Manchester City; until then, Visca el Barça!

Roll Call Info
Total comments 624
Total commenters 59
Commenter list A.J.Khan, Abdul95, Abohabiba, Anders Thomassen, AngelCul1, Antonio Moreira, AraibKarim, Ayush Tiwari, Barca Boy, BarcaBarca, Bostjan Cernensek, Delano Heerkens, Eddie Pundell, FCB4Ever, FCB4Lyfe, FCBMo, FCB_Z8, FloFourFCBarca, Imalwaysofftopic, Lapulga, LocoZZZ, Outsmash, PG9, Piquénbauer, Prcho, Ragnar_Lothbrok, Ruy Diaz, Sebanovic, Som-i-Serem, Steven Cordero, Swn.Culé, ViscaViscaBarca, Willis1984, Youssefyasser, Z Ahmad, abdulla0207, ade fox, avyator, casellius, craig00000, cule-since-1992, farzan, halsey, hobo_barca, jeankenzylov, levix, llamas612, messism, milesbarca, msalmanz, saijaikumar, semperty, shirishstha, shubham2806, syredeathtrooper, tilak, uday kakoti, vireyda, vishnuvarma222
Story URLs
# Commenter # Comments
1 Delano Heerkens 69
2 ade fox 45
3 craig00000 37
4 AraibKarim 35
5 Bostjan Cernensek 32
6 Willis1984 30
7 Anders Thomassen 29
8 Z Ahmad 24
9 FCBMo 21
10 Antonio Moreira 20
11 FloFourFCBarca 19
12 Ruy Diaz 18
13 FCB4Lyfe 13
14 halsey 13
15 BarcaBarca 13
16 Sebanovic 12
17 PG9 12
18 jeankenzylov 11
19 Abohabiba 11
20 Barca Boy 11
21 Imalwaysofftopic 10
22 semperty 10
23 tilak 9
24 Ayush Tiwari 9
25 Prcho 9
26 messism 8
27 Abdul95 7
28 abdulla0207 7
29 Lapulga 7
30 shirishstha 7
31 Ragnar_Lothbrok 6
32 avyator 6
33 hobo_barca 6
34 saijaikumar 5
35 vireyda 4
36 vishnuvarma222 4
37 Steven Cordero 4
38 A.J.Khan 3
39 shubham2806 3
40 LocoZZZ 3
41 Youssefyasser 2
42 Swn.Culé 2
43 FCB_Z8 2
44 casellius 1
45 FCB4Ever 1
46 Eddie Pundell 1
47 llamas612 1
48 cule-since-1992 1
49 msalmanz 1
50 Som-i-Serem 1
51 syredeathtrooper 1
52 Piquénbauer 1
53 Outsmash 1
54 levix 1
55 AngelCul1 1
56 farzan 1
57 ViscaViscaBarca 1
58 milesbarca 1
59 uday kakoti 1

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Barca Blaugranes Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of Barca news from Barca Blaugranes