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La Liga: FC Barcelona hold off Malaga 2-0 to continue unbeaten season

Barcelona are unbeaten after starting with seven straight wins and drawing with Atletico Madrid last week.

Reported by: AP , Barcelona [ Published on: October 22, 2017 13:38 IST ]
Image Source : PTI A file image of the Barcelona players celebrating after scoring a goal.

Barcelona regained a four-point cushion atop the Spanish league with a ho-hum 2-0 win over visiting Malaga and surging Valencia dismissed Sevilla 4-0 at home on Saturday.

Barcelona faced last-placed Malaga in the closing match of the day, with added pressure from second-placed Valencia, which has won five in a row.

Barcelona is unbeaten after starting with seven straight wins and drawing with Atletico Madrid last week.

Seldom-used Gerard Deulofeu opened the scoring for Barcelona after just two minutes, and Andres Iniesta celebrated his first of the season in the second half thanks to a brilliant assist by Lionel Messi.

"We lacked pace at the beginning of the game. It was our third in six days and mentally, it's difficult," coach Ernesto Valverde said.

Luis Suarez failed to score on clear chances once again, underlining his poor start to the season, but had his manager's backing nonetheless.
"I don't see a problem with him. He looks good to me. What's important is that he manufactures chances," Valverde said.

Defending champion Real Madrid hosts Eibar on Sunday.

Barcelona benefited from a flagrant referee misjudgment to get its go-ahead goal against Malaga. Left-back Lucas Digne was allowed to center the ball after it clearly crossed the byline, and Deulofeu acrobatically backfoot it inside the net.

Despite the blow, the visitors got back up and managed to neutralize Barcelona for most of the first half, but lost striker Diego Rolan just before the second period. The Uruguayan import was forced off by injury.

Without Rolan, Malaga lacked bite in its pressure of the home backline, and Barcelona was able to polish ball circulation and find Messi with more frequency.

Messi received a clean pass from defender Javier Mascherano, drew the defence, and dropped a perfect pass for Iniesta, whose shot was deflected by defender Roberto Rosales on its way to the upper left corner.
Malaga surrendered and Barcelona dominated the rest of the way.

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