La Liga 2017/18: Barcelona 2-0 Malaga, 5 talking points
A blatant refereeing error and the reliable Messi-Iniesta partnership help Barcelona secure all 3 points against a resolute Malaga
What was expected to be a walk in the park for the La Liga leaders proved to be anything but as 20th placed Malaga tested their resolve for the greater part of the game only to have fortune swing it in the Catalan's favour.
Some bizarre officiating in the second minute of the match led to Deulofeu opening the scoring for La Blaugrana when Lucas Digne set him up in the box after the ball had clearly crossed the touchline and should have ended in a goal-kick.
Messi then freed up Iniesta in the box and the Spanish maestro doubled their lead in the 56th minute as his left-footed strike took a deflection off of Rosales and sailed over Prieto into the right top corner. Luis Suarez missed a sitter in the 74th minute but the game ended 2-0 as Malaga couldn't pull even one back but it was not for the lack of trying.
Here's what we learnt from the game.
#5. Leo Messi and Iniesta are indispensable to this Barca team
In a team that can go on for long spells playing insipid football, Leo Messi and Iniesta are the only consistent creative sparks. Their ability on the ball is unrivalled and be it Messi's bursts of space combined with his silky manoeuvres or Iniesta's vision and composure, Barcelona will look like an average side but for these two.
Messi tried to free Suarez with a spectacular lofted ball in the 40th minute and it almost worked but for Luis Hernandez's brilliant intervention. Later, it was Messi who set up Iniesta's goal with a bustling run down the centre before carefully and neatly picking out the Spaniard in space.
Iniesta's shoulder drops and turns were often too much to handle for Malaga and even though he has lost his pace, the Spanish midfield maestro is still a fine player who can dictate the direction of a game with the amount of flair he brings to the table.