The much-talked-up Champions League clash with Manchester City next week seems to be having a negative effect on Barca.
A win over Malaga would have seen Barca claiming top place in La Liga for the first time this season. With the home side flying high after 11 consecutive wins, getting all three points was even considered a must for Luis Enrique's side. The manager himself stated before the match that Barca "can win every game".
The game, however, did not go as Enrique planned. Seven minutes after the start, Daniel Alves's careless backpass gave Juanmi the opportunity to go head to head with Claudio Bravo. The Malaga playmaker made no mistake, dribbling pass Bravo before putting the ball into the empty net.
After the early shock, Barca immediately regrouped and pushed hard for the equaliser. They dominated the game as usual, yet were not able to create enough clear chances. In contrast, Malaga were the team that came closer to getting the game's second goal, after some dangerous counter attacks.
The scoreline remained unchanged for the rest of the game, despite Enrique bringing on Ivan Rakitic and Pedro and then changing the team's formation to 3-4-3 in order to give the attack some vigour. In truth the player's looked too anxious to make the best final moves.
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The game ended in the worst way possible for Barca. At least two of their players should have been sent off for bad behaviour in the final minutes. Neymar made two dangerous kicks on Samu Castillejo and Sergi Darder, while Jordi Alba continuously kicked Juanpi with the Malaga midfielder lying on the grass.
The players apparenlty lost their patience, and Enrique will be hoping that they do not lose their confidence after this shocking loss. Their next opponent's, City, are seemingly back to their best after thrashing Newcastle 5-0 in Premier League.
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