Barcelona warmed up for next week’s Champions League game against Chelsea next week with a brilliant display at La Rosaleda after dispatching La Liga strugglers, Malaga. Goals from Suarez and Coutinho ensured that Barcelona won the game without Lionel Messi, who missed out in the clash to witness the birth of his third child.
All eyes are on the Champions League second leg clash at The Camp Nou but Barcelona highlighted the importance of not losing momentum ahead of the clash against Chelsea.
Barcelona made it 35 games unbeaten with the win, while Samuel Garcia was red carded for a poor challenge on Alba after 30 minutes. Suarez headed in from Jordi Alba’s cross before Coutinho scored the magical second put the game beyond the hosts. Malaga have now lost 7 consecutive matches to increase their relegation fears. Barcelona coasted through the first half and should have taken the lead through Suarez.
The Uruguay international was put through on goal by Ousmane Dembele, but his shot was well saved by Roberto, the Malaga shotstopper.
Just two minutes later, Suarez found the opener, nodding past Roberto after timing his run to meet Jordi Alba’s perfectly weighted cross. Malaga remain 11 points adrift of safety while The Blaugrana increased the lead at the top of the table to 11 points.
Former Borussia Dortmund winger, Ousmane Dembele made the most of his rare start and provided the assist for the second goal, as his cross was delightfully back-heeled past Roberto for his second La Liga goal for Barcelona.
Suarez curled a free-kick past the post in Lionel Messi’s absence late in the game, as the league leaders moved a game closer to equalling Real Sociedad’s 38-game record unbeaten run in La Liga. Suarez was Man of the Match as he constantly pressed the Malaga backline time and time again and duly got the opener.
Next up for Malaga is a game on Sunday against Celta Vigo while Barcelona square up against Chelsea in the Champions League. The game is delicately poised as the reverse fixture in London finished 1-1.