With­out Messi, Barcelona held to home draw by Malaga

Malta Independent - - SPORT -

In­ef­fec­tive with­out Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez, Barcelona was held to a 0-0 draw by Malaga yes­ter­day, miss­ing a chance to move top of the Span­ish league.

De­spite play­ing at home and with an ex­tra player from the 68th minute, Barcelona was un­able to over­come the ab­sence of the un­well Messi and sus­pended Suarez, with poor fin­ish­ing and a solid performance by Malaga goal­keeper Car­los Ka­meni.

The re­sult left the Cata­lan club one point be­hind Real Madrid, which was play­ing late in the derby at Atletico Madrid yes­ter­day.

Ka­meni came up with sev­eral key saves through­out the match at the Camp Nou, in­clud­ing a spec­tac­u­lar one four min­utes into in­jury time on a close-range header by Ney­mar.

Barcelona, which was try­ing to win its fifth game in a row, hadn’t been held score­less in 17 league games.

Malaga played with 10 men from the 68th as de­fender Diego Llorente was sent off for a foul on Ney­mar, and it also lost for­ward Juankar be­cause of another red card, this time for com­plain­ing, in the last minute of stop­page time.

Car­ry­ing one of the league’s best de­fences, Malaga had a key chance on a coun­ter­at­tack in the 57th, when Juankar got past the goal­keeper but missed the open net with an an­gled shot.

Barcelona de­fender Ger­ard Pique, who played parts of the match as a striker, had a goal dis­al­lowed in the 83rd be­cause of off­side af­ter Andre Gomes struck the cross­bar with a header. Just two min­utes ear­lier, sub­sti­tute mid­fielder Ivan Rakitic nearly broke the dead­lock for Barcelona with a header off a cor­ner.

Messi was ruled out of yes­ter­day’s game just hours be­fore kick­off be­cause he “was not feel­ing well and had vom­ited,” the club said.

RON­ALDO HAT-TRICK

Cris­tiano Ron­aldo was the star as he scored a hat-trick to lead Real Madrid to a 3-0 win at city ri­vals Atletico Madrid.

DEP. LA CORUNA 2, SEVILLA 3

Sevilla scored twice in the fi­nal five min­utes to rally from two goals down at De­portivo La Coruna and stay near the top .

De­portivo ap­peared in con­trol af­ter goals by Ryan Ba­bel in the first minute and Florin An­done in the 42nd, but Sevilla got back into the game with Steven N’Zonzi’s strike just be­fore half­time at the Ri­a­zor Sta­dium.

Vic­tor “Vi­tolo” Machin equalised in the 87th. Ar­gen­tine de­fender Gabriel Mer­cado net­ted the win­ner from close range two min­utes into in­jury time.

Sevilla, com­ing off a 2-1 home loss to Barcelona, moved to third place with 24 points.

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