Messi-less Barcelona cruise home in Malaga

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Madrid, March 11 (IANS) FC Barcelona opened up an 11 point lead over Atletico Madrid, who play on Sunday, at the top of the Liga Santander thanks to a comfortable 2-0 win away to Malaga.

Leo Messi missed the trip to the La Rosaleda Stadium after becoming a father for the third time on Friday night, but his inspirational presence was not needed against the bottom side of the table with just 13 points from 28 matches, reports Xinhua news agency.

On Saturday, Luis Suarez opened the scoring after just 15 minutes, a goal which means he has now scored against every side in the Primera Liga since arriving at Barcelona in 2014.

Phillipe Coutinho doubled Barca’s lead following good work from Ousmane Dembele two minutes before the half-hour with a smart back heel, and Barca’s job was made much easier after Malaga midfielder Samu Garcia was sent off for a direct red card for a foul on Jordi Alba.

The second half was a virtual non-event as Barca conserved their energy for next week’s Champions League tie at home to Chelsea.



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