Barca held at home by nine-man Malaga

By daily sports on November 20, 2016

Views: 2,403

Barcelona missed Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez dearly as the champions were held to a 0-0 home La Liga draw by Malaga who had two players sent off on Saturday.

Messi was taken ill before the game while Suarez, joint top scorer in La Liga along with the Argentine, was suspended.

Captain Andres Iniesta was also injured and Luis Enrique's side were incapable of prising open a Malaga side happy to sit back and soak up pressure for the majority of the game.

Barca stayed second on 26 points, one behind leaders Real Madrid who visit local rivals Atletico Madrid later on Saturday.

Despite dominating possession Barca struggled to carve out many opportunities and on the rare occasion they created a chance, Malaga goalkeeper Carlos Kameni was there to frustrate them.

Kameni clawed away efforts from Gerard Pique in either half and produced a sensational save to deny Neymar in injury time.

Malaga had defender Diego Llorente dismissed in the 68th minute for a straight red card following a lunge on Neymar.

Barca still could not find a way through although Pique had what looked a clear penalty appeal turned down after his shirt was tugged in the area by Mikel Villanueva.

"We're disappointed, we didn't expect them to sit back as much as they did, but that was up to their coach. The density of the opposition's players was incredible," said Barca coach Luis Enrique.

"It made no difference after the first sending-off because all their players were back. I liked the attitude of my players and the belief they and the supporters had."

Malaga have proved testing opponents for Barca at the Nou Camp recently, winning 1-0 in February 2015 and only losing 1-0 last season.

They frustrated the Catalans again by employing a conservative 5-4-1 formation and defending deep for most of the game. They created one clear-cut chance, midfielder Juankar firing wide of the near post after rounding keeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen.

Malaga's Juankar was shown a straight red card in stoppage time for dissent.

Elsewhere, Gabriel Mercado scored a controversial stoppage-time winner as third-placed Sevilla produced a spectacular late turnaround to come from two goals down and win 3-2 at Deportivo La Coruna.

Deportivo were denied a penalty late in the second half while leading 2-1 when Argentina international Mercado pushed Florin Andone over.

Mercado escaped a possible red card and netted from close range in the 92nd minute after Vitolo had levelled in the 87th. (goal.com)

•Photo shows Lionel Messi

Source daily sports

Posted November 20, 2016


 

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