Ibrahimovic goal streak continues in Barca win
Malaga 0 – 2 Barcelona
Barcelona followed Real Madrid’s victory with a win in a fiery encounter at La Rosaleda that made La Liga history.
It is the first time that both clubs have recorded five wins from their first five fixtures in the competition and it would be difficult to imagine the clubs failing to extend the momentous achievement with the ability present in the both sides.
Malaga made it very difficult for the reigning champions and are noted domestically for their physical approach.
In order to combat the tactic, Guardiola added steel to the midfield in the form of both Seydou Keita and Yaya Toure and they were needed as Malaga imposed themselves all over the pitch, and in certain instances, to excessive measures as several flash-points of stamping arose during the game.
Lionel Messi – who appeared to be singled out for the rough treatment – had his leg seemingly stood on deliberately by Brazilian defender Weligton after seeing his mazy run blocked off fairly by the goalkeeper.
The Argentine lashed out at the defender with a swipe at Welgton’s ankle and, upon video evidence of the replay, with some justification.
Prior to the incident, the first chance of the evening fell to the home side on eight minutes.
Victor Obinna, on loan from Inter Milan, got in behind the unconvincing Ukrainian centre-half Chygrynskiy, only to drill the ball into the side netting at the near post.
The malice shown towards Messi earlier in the game seemed to fire-up the brilliant Argentine.
Messi charged down the ball in his own half and raced after it before curling a superb ball into the box that fell just beyond Henry and into Pedro at the far post.
The young Spaniard – enjoying a rare start in the frontline – appeared to be hauled down by Manu Torres as he shaped to shoot, but his appeals were waved away.
Minutes later, Barca had a second penalty claimed turned down by referee Delgado Ferreiro.
Ibrahimovic, who had replaced thigh-strain victim Thierry Henry moments earlier, was pulled to the ground by the ever-involved Weligton after Pedro delivered the ball into the box from the by-line.
The Swedish striker was to have the last laugh however, as he increased his record feat of scoring in his first four games by bagging Barca’s opener on 39 minutes.
Messi lofted a lovely ball over the top of the Malaga defence for Ibrahimovic to chest down and tuck the ball neatly past Munua in goal from close-range.
There was to be another stamping incident involving Messi on 41 minutes.
Duda appeared to leave his foot in on the prolific forward’s groin following Juanito’s challenge, but again Malaga went unpunished.
The controversy was not to end there. Only minutes into the second half, Dani Alves had his arm trod on after being out-muscled on the touchline.
The physicality in the home sides play did not stop Barcelona creating a two-goal cushion just short of the hour mark.
Gerald Pique, having just replaced the crocked Chygrynskiy, scored his his second goal of the season from Xavi’s free-kick.
Xavi played a great ball over the top of the Malaga’s static back-line for the former Manchester United defender to flick past the goalkeeper with his first touch of the game.
The frustration of the home side began to show as Duda rushed to confront Carlos Puyol following a tough challenge on Forestieri and subsequently received a booking for his troubles.
The referee was to brandish a further three yellow cards in quick succession for reactions to an apparent elbow by Weligton on Pique that left the goal-scorer rolling in agony inside the Malaga box.
The defender recovered in time to blaze over a chance to make it three for Barca from Pedro’s pull back on 74 minutes.
The referee continued his indiscretions in the 85th minute by showing second-half substitute Albert Luque a straight red card for what was a seemingly innocuous tackle, arguably not worthy of a caution.
The former Newcastle winger had been on the pitch for less than ten minutes before receiving his marching orders.
Messi brought the game’s action to a close in stoppage time with an effort that would have sent his side back to the summit of La Liga on his weaker foot following a neat one-two with Keita that was saved low down by Munua.
Malaga: Munua, Weligton, Cuadrado, Manu Torres, Gamez, Juanito, Fernando (Valdo, 45), Xavi Torres, Duda (Luque, 76), Baha (Forestieri, 56), Obinna
Barcelona: Valdes, Dani Alves, Puyol, Chygrynskiy (Pique, 56), Abidal, Keita, Toure (Busquets, 79), Xavi, Messi, Henry (Ibrahimovic, 29), Pedro
Man of the Match: Lionel Messi – Showed mental strength and let his football do the talking following some vicious treatment and created the opener with a perfectly weighted ball over the top for Ibrahimovic.
The weekend’s other La Liga results:
Athletic Bilbao 0-4 Sevilla
Real Madrid 3-0 Tenerife
Valencia 2-2 Atletico Madrid
Mallorca 3-0 Valladolid
Almeria 2-2 Racing
Osasuna 1-0 Sporting
Espanyol 0-0 Xerez
Zaragoza 3-0 Getafe
Deportivo 1-0 Villarreal