Barcelona slump to stunning home defeat by Malaga
Barcelona`s La Liga title hopes were dealt a huge blow as Malaga stunned the Camp Nou with a 1-0 win on Saturday.
Madrid: Barcelona`s La Liga title hopes were dealt a huge blow as Malaga stunned the Camp Nou with a 1-0 win on Saturday.
Juanmi grabbed the only goal of the game after just seven minutes when he pounced on an error by Dani Alves.
Defeat leaves Barca still a point adrift of Real Madrid at the top of the table, but the European champions can extend that advantage to four points when they travel to Elche on Sunday.
Barcelona came into the game in fine form having won their last 11 games in all competitions, scoring 42 goals in the process.
However, their star front three of Lionel Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez were kept remarkably quiet as Malaga became the first side since Getafe in 2007/08 to keep Barca scoreless over two games in La Liga.
The opener arrived thanks to a huge defensive error as Alves under hit a backpass to Claudio Bravo and Juanmi nipped in to slot home.
Barca nearly replied immediately as a corner fell to Rafinha Alcantara and his fierce drive was blocked on his own goal-line by Weligton.
Malaga could even have been further ahead at the break had Ricardo Horta made a better contact on two occasions when he was unmarked inside the Barca area.
Messi nearly unlocked the Malaga defence with a lovely in-swinging cross that Andres Iniesta could only head into the grateful arms of Carlos Kameni.
However, the hosts looked devoid of ideas after the break as it was Malaga who posed the constant threat on the counter-attack, albeit without creating any clear-cut chances.
Barca boss Luis Enrique turned to Ivan Rakitic and Pedro Rodriguez from the bench in the search for a breakthrough.
It was Pedro who had the best chance to level seven minutes from time when he was played in by Neymar, but the Spanish international could only fire the ball into the side-netting.
And it wasn`t to be for Barca as a dipping volley from Suarez was clutched by Kameni before the Cameroonian denied Gerard Pique in stoppage time.