Málaga FC claims the first point against FC Barcelona Wednesday, who loses their 100% in a 0-0 draw Wednesday. Málaga FC was very attentive, playing a strong, defensive game that Barça could not penetrate. “Slow game?” Iniesta said after the final whistle, “We tried but Málaga was very defensive. We knew it, but couldn’t solve it. They did a good job, we’ll take the point.”
Both Neymar and Messi were covered vigorously by the defense, while a few mistakes in the defense saw Bravo making several saves. The pitch in Andaluciá has had its share of criticism for being sticky. On the contrary, Neymar seemed to be sliding, unable to get a good handle on the ball in order to execute several chances. Still, Barça was missing the quick rhythm they have shown in the past few games. Meanwhile, Málaga were attentive and energetic throughout the game, constricting Barça’s chances.
FCB Manager, Luis Enriquez admitted, “It was the hardest game so far because the opposition got things right.” Enriquez had switched the line-up yet again, particularly in the defense where they continue to have trouble spots. Out were Mascherano, Jordi Alba and Mathieu. In came Douglas, who made his debut today playing right fullback, alongside Pique, replacing Matheiu. Bartra and Alba joined them in the back line, while the midfield and front trio remained the same from Sunday.
The second half saw some surprising substitutes for Barça, with the two youngsters, Sandro and Munir El Haddadi in for Neymar and Pedro. Shortly after a yellow card in the 70th minute to Douglas, the Brazilian too was called off, replaced by Adriano Correja. Subs by Málaga included Luis Alberto who replaced Duda in the second half, as well as Juanmi who went on for Samo Castillejo.
An off-the-ball incident occurred in the 83’, just before a corner kick, between Málaga Defender Welington and Messi. Seemingly unprovoked, the defender grabbed Messi’s face. Messi went to the ground for the foul, which ended in Welington narrowly escaping a red card, and a yellow for Pique for protesting.
Barça tried vigorously in the final minutes for a final shot on goal but it was too late. The organized home squad left no windows. Enrique concluded, “We failed in the last pass, maybe missed some patience. We’ll look for solutions.” With the point Wednesday, Barcelona remains in the lead of La Liga, while reaching 4,000 points in its history. “We’re in the 5th round,” Enriquez added, “Its logical there are things that don’t work yet.”