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Primera División

  • September 24, 2014
  • • 4:00 PM
  • • Estadio La Rosaleda, Málaga
  • Referee: Alejandro José Hernández Hernández
  • • Attendance: 24820

Malaga 0-0 Barcelona: Leader's 100 percent record ends

The La Liga leader remained top of the table, but it dropped points for the first time in the league this season.

Barcelona's 100 percent La Liga start came to an end as it was held to a goal-less draw at Malaga on Wednesday.

Luis Enrique's men came into the fixture at La Rosaleda having won all four of their opening league fixtures without conceding a single goal. And, while the Catalan outfit was able to preserve that impressive defensive record, a failure to turn possession into goals will disappoint its coach.

Jordi Alba proved to be a constant menace down the left in the first half, but the visitors were unable to make the most of his repeated dangerous deliveries.

Claudio Bravo pushed a Luis Alberto free kick onto the post midway through the second half, and Barca held on for what eventually turned out to be a hard-fought point.

The result sees Barcelona, which had won the last 12 league meetings between the sides, remain top on goal difference from Sevilla, while Malaga maintains its record of having not conceded at home this season.

Luis Enrique continued to rotate his defense by bringing Gerard Pique, Marc Bartra and debutant Douglas in for Javier Mascherano, Jeremy Mathieu and Dani Alves following the 5-0 demolition of Levante on Sunday, while Neymar was fit to start after recovering from an ankle injury.

Barca applied the early pressure and Malaga defender Sergio Sanchez did well to thwart threatening crosses from Pedro and Ivan Rakitic, but Bravo had to be alert at the other end to get his body behind a drilled effort from Nordin Amrabat.

The half continued at a frantic pace and Lionel Messi curled a free kick from 20 yards over the crossbar, before Pedro diverted just wide from an Alba cross.

Having seen close-season signing Luis Suarez score twice for Barcelona B in a friendly against an Indonesia XI earlier in the day, the visitors' starting attackers might have been feeling the pressure to perform ahead of the Uruguayan's October return from suspension, and Messi should arguably have done better when he chested wide from another Alba ball into the area.

Luis Enrique wore a stern expression on the touchline as Malaga continued to frustrate the visitors at the start of the second half.

Bartra headed narrowly wide from a corner on the hour mark, before Neymar's match came to an end when he was replaced by Munir El Haddadi on 64 minutes.

Roberto Rosales' drilled effort shortly afterwards drifted wide, but served as a reminder of Malaga's attacking threat, and Luis Alberto's free kick – palmed onto the post by Bravo – reaffirmed that point.

Malaga captain Weligton was perhaps lucky not to escape harsher punishment as he was shown a yellow card for grabbing Messi's face in a late scuffle.

But 0-0 is how it would remain, as Luis Enrique suffered his first minor setback since taking the reins at Camp Nou.