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May 2, 2012
• Camp Nou, Barcelona
Referee: Javier Turienzo Álvarez
• Attendance: 67854
L. Messi 35', 59', 64'
S. Rondón 27'
Shots on Target
A magical Messi hat-trick has sunk Malaga's hopes of a first win here at Camp Nou in 13 years. I've been Alex Mott, thanks for joining me. I'll be back on Saturday for Granada vs Real Madrid. Unitl then, cheers.
90' + 4'
Demichelis and Eliseu have clashed heads, and the medics have been called on to the pitch. They're treated, and before they can return, the referee has blown for full time!
90' + 3'
Afellay tries to chip the ball through to Messi, but Kameni comes out and collects the ball from the edge of the area.
90' + 1'
We'll have three added minutes here.
OHHH. Malaga haven't given up hope of a consolation. A long, diagonal pass from Camacho found Van Nistelrooy inside the area, and he, on the volley, struck at goal, only for Pinto to save well.
Barcelona have had nearly 70% possession tonight. What more can you say?
Eliseu is down after a challenge from Tello, and Barca sportingly kick the ball out of play, even though the referee had waved play on.
Keita looks to try and get in on the act now. He makes a surging run forward into the area, but the ball runs away from him, and Kameni collects the ball.
Yellow Card Cesc Fàbregas
Messi runs from the halfway line, and, 30 yards from goal, looks to play Alves in down the right. The Brazilian then brings the ball forward himself, but he's shut out by Gamez and Sanchez before he can get a cross in.
Afellay seems ok, as he plays a one-two with Messi on the edge of the area. The Argentinian then comes forward, and looks to play Pedro in square, but Eliseu comes infield and clears away the danger.
And with his first touch, Afellay gives the ball away, and goes down cluching his leg.
Andrés Iniesta Luján
Iniesta comes off, and gives the armband to Lionel Messi. The roar from the crowd is immense. Afellay also gets a great reception, coming on after a lengthy injury lay-off.
Mascherano and Bartra have just played an eight-nine on the halfway line. AN EIGHT-NINE!
Dani Alves comes forward now, and plays a one-two with Pedro on the edge of the area. He receives the ball back, but his touch is a heavy one, and Demichelis comes across to clear the ball.
Barca are just keeping the ball at will now. Malaga, who are fourth in the league remember, are being made to look amateur here.
Yellow Card Pedro
People on Twitter are asking if the penalties were clear-cut? In a word: yes.
That's Messi's eighth hat-trick of the season, and his second of the year against Malaga alone. Could he get to 70 for the season? It would be crazy if he could.
Assist Andrés Iniesta Luján
GOOOAAAALLL!!! And as @SarahThLu makes that comment, Messi scores his hat-trick. He's put through by Iniesta, and races through on goal. Kameni comes out, and the Argentinian just flicks the ball over him, and comes around the otherside to tap the ball into the net.
@SarahThLu has pondered the question: "If Messi isn't one of the best ever or even the best ever then I don't know who is..".
From kick off, Malaga come forward down the right, as Cazorla puts in a beautiful cross for the substitute Van Nistelrooy. The former Madrid man gets infront of Puyol, but his shot goes just over the bar.
Ruud Van Nistelrooy
Penalty Goal Messi
GOOOAAALLLLL!!! And Messi makes it three! From the spot, he fires it into the top right-hand corner of the net, and he's equalled Gerd Muller's record of 67 goals in a season. Unbelievable.
PENALTY!!!! The corner is played short, and as Messi comes into the area with the ball he is fouled from behind, and a penalty is given.
Yellow Card Duda
Camacho fouls Messi in full-flight 30 yards from the Malaga goal, and a free kick is given. The Argentinian steps up, and goes for a shot, but the strike is deflected for a corner.
Yellow Card Camacho
Eliseu has it for Malaga now. On the left-hand side, he looks to play a one-two with Duda on the edge of the area, but the return ball from the Portuguese midfielder was poor, and Fabregas came in to collect the loose ball.
Keita was very nearly caught there. The Malian was taking far too much time in possession on the halfway line, and Rondon almost caught him to go through on goal. Puyol though, spotted the danger and cleared up the situation.
Cazorla floats in the free kick towards the far post, where Rondon is there to head the ball back across goal. Pinto is left stranded, but Fabregas is there to clear away the danger.
Apparently Cuenca's playing?? He brings down Duda on the halfway line, and the referee blows for a free kick.
OHHHH. It looked there like it could be 3-1 to Barca. A chipped through-ball from Iniesta found Fabregas, but the linesman flagged for offside.
Rondon has it now for Pellegrini's side. He turns on the halfway line, and runs directly at the Barca defence. keita though, brings him down, and the referee blows for a free kick. The set piece is drifted in by Cazorla, but it's overhit and the ball goes out for a goal kick. They're the sort of opportunities that Malaga have to make the most of.
And already Barca are attacking Malaga. A long, diagonal ball from Mascherano finds Pedro on the right-hand touchline. He gets the ball to the byline, and puts in a deep cross, that Kameni punches away for a throw in. A great start for Pep's side.
We're back. And it's Barcelona who will get us underway, kicking from right-to-left.
@AbeTshebo: "I don't understand this 'barca get favour' claims, u fans always c what favors barca n not what's unfair 2 barca. Smarten up." @wdemissie1: this dominance and influence of Barcelona must end!!! why penalty always!!!!!!!!!!" Those are just two typical responses I'm getting.
We seem to be split 50/50 on whether Barcelona get favourable treatement from referees over @alexjmott on Twitter. What do you think?
@SARDARDUDE is really angry this time: "HOW CAN U SUPPORT A TEAM THAT ACT,DIVE,CHEAT AND CRY TO WIN TROPHIES..LOOKS LIKE U LOVE HOLLYWOOD DRAMA OVER FOOTBALL." And because it's in block capitals, you know he's properly mad.
An early Puyol goal looked to have been cancelled out by a Rondon header, but a penalty from Messi has taken Barcelona a goal up going into the break. I'll be back in 15 minutes for the second half, but in the meantime, I'm @alexjmott on Twitter, and I'd love to hear your comments on the game.
And that's it. The referee blows for half time, with the scoreline here at Camp Nou: Barcelona 2-1 Malaga.
@kelvinmoses0 is having his say now on the 'whether Barca get all the decisions' debate: "must barca get a penalty every match! Cheats!"
WOOFFF. It so nearly could have been two for Malaga there! A cross from the right was misjudged by Pinto, who just managed to tip the ball away to Cazorla at the far post. The former Villarreal man has a shot, but it's blocked by Fabregas.
One more goal tonight for Barca and they equal the previous Liga goals record just beaten by Real Madrid - which stood at 107 from 1989-90 until this season.
From one end to the other, Rondon brings the ball forward, but is tackled by Keita 30 yards from goal. The Malian then gives it to Iniesta in the cnetre circle, who plays a chipped pass out to Pedro on the right. The youngster though, can't keep the ball in play, and Malaga have a throw in.
There was no chance of that penalty hitting the bar! Immediately though, Malaga come forward down the right and win a corner. Cazorla takes it, but the referee blows for a push on Pinto inside the area.
Assist Andrés Iniesta Luján
Penalty Goal Messi
GOOOAAAALLLL!!! And Lionel Messi scores from the spot. The Argentinian passes it into the bottom right-hand corner of the net to make it 2-1.
PENALTY!!!! Iniesta comes forward for Barca down the left. He brings t towards the edge of the area, where Gamez brings down the Spaniard for a spot kick.
One for all you stat fans: Rondon's strike is the first La Liga goal conceded by goalkeeper José Manuel Pinto since 21 May 2011, then also facing Málaga CF.
@jc2good weighs in with a well-written, well-considered argument: "you can't deny the fact that Barca have won many trophies after suspicious decisions... Just saying, he has a point..."
@SARDARDUDE will be pleased. Barcelona though, are attacking again, this time with Messi. He runs from the right-hand side, infield, but his slipped pass into Pedro is blocked by Sanchez.
Assist Jesús Gámez
GOOOAAAAALLLLL!!! And completely against the run of play, Malaga have equalised. A cross from the right-hand side by Gamez finds Rondon, who, with a diving header, guides the ball past Pinto. 1-1.
Malaga seem to have been camped on their own 18 yard line so far, but here they come with their first foray forward for some time. Rondon holds the ball up, 30 yards from goal, lays it back to Dudu, who shoots first time. The shot is high, wide and not very good.
@SARDARDUDE is back: "they r cheaters ,actors,divers and losers...their star player is always the referee." How many times can someone be so wrong, so many times in one sentence?
Messi goes on a trademark run from left-to-centre. He takes it past three Malaga players, and looks for a one-two with Pedro. Unfortunately, the young Spainard's return pass is a poor one, and Messi can't quite control the ball.
@SARDARDUDE is not a happy bunny: "why are barcelona big cheaters..why do they act,dive,cheat and cry to win trophies?" Madrid fan, by any chance?
Barca are coming forward relentlessly now. This time, Fabregas and Iniesta play a gorgeous one-two on the edge of the Malaga area. The former Arsenal man though, looks to slip in Pedro inside the area, but Demichelis comes across and blocks the pass.
Why on earth did I write off Barcelona so early on? And just to rub salt into my already exposed wound, they nearly make it two. Iniesta, again comes forward with the ball, this time down the left. He looks up and plays in Pedro inside the area, but the youngster can't quite get a touch on the ball and Kameni comes out to collect.
Assist Andrés Iniesta Luján
Goal Carles Puyol
GOOOAAAALLL!!! And it's 1-0 Barca. Just as I say they have started poorly, Messi plays Iniesta down the right. From the byline, the Spaniard plays the ball across the box, where PUYOL is there to tap the ball into the back of the net.
Martyn McGrath on Twitter believes Barca will win "so as to give Pep a good farewell". I'm not so sure Martyn, they haven't started well at all tonight.
OH MY WORD!!! So nearly an opener for Malaga. Duda, with his left foot, beat Pinto all ends up, but his shot hits the post and the ball runs away for a throw in.
Buonanotte has it now for Malaga. He brings it forward down the middle of the pitch, and is eventually brought down by Mascherano on the edge of the area. The referee bloes for a free kick.
This game, so far, has the feel of a meaningless end of season fixture. Iniesta there, tries to play in Dani Alves down the right, but his pass is overhit, and the ball goes out for a goal kick.
Puyol has it in the centre back position for Barca. He looks up and plays a long ball. Yes, a LONG BALL. But as Pedro receives the ball, he is adjudged to have been offside.
Messi comes deep into the centre circle looking for the ball; he gets it, but gives it away, as Portillo blocks the pass and comes forward. He tries to release Jesus Gomez down the right, but Adriano comes across, and clears the ball.
Don't forget, I'm @alexjmott on Twitter, and I'd love to hear your thoughts on tonight's game and all the action across Spain.
Messi takes the free kick, and gives it short to Pedro. The Argentinian receives it back again, and tries to cross the ball into the box. The cross is deflected though, by Demichelis, and Kameni receives the ball gratefully.
It's Pedro now for Barca. He takes the ball into the right-hand corner flag, and wins a free kick after a foul from Eliseu.
Barcelona win the ball back, and are already attacking down the right with Dani Alves. The Brazilian comes forward, and has a speculative effort from 30 yards saved easily by Kameni.
There's an awful lot of love for Guardiola in the stadium tonight. It seems every other fan has a 'gracias Pep' sign in their hands.
Malaga get us underway, kicking from right-to-left.
Here we go then. The players are leaving the tunnel, with kick off just moments away. Don't go anywhere.
Just over 15 minutes until kick off here in Barcelona, and the atmosphere at Camp Nou is building up nicely.
And as always, if you want to contact me during the game, you can do @alexjmott on Twitter.
Malaga (4-4-1-1): Kameni; Jesus Gomez, Demichelis, S. Sanchez, Eliseu; Portillo, Camacho, Cazorla, Duda; Buonanotte; Rondon
Barcelona (4-3-3): Pinto; Alves, Mascherano, Puyol, Adriano; Keita, Fabregas, Iniesta; Pedro, Messi, Cuenca
TEAM NEWS: Fabregas and Iniesta come in for Barcelona. Whilst Malaga bring in Buonanotte to add some attacking impetus.
The reverse fixture back in January, finished 4-1 to Barcelona, with Lionel Messi scoring a hat-trick. Will that be the case this evening, with Barca virtually out of the title race, and Malaga desperate for Champions League qualification?
And the recent history between these two sides is not pleasant reading for fans of Los Boquerones: of their last seven matches with Barcelona, they have lost seven, by an aggregate scoreline of, wait for it, 25-5. And the last time they won at Camp Nou was back in 1999.
This is, of course, Pep Guardiola's penultimate home game as coach of the Blaugrana, and he'll be hoping to make it one to remember against a Malaga side who are desperately seeking Champions League qualification. However, Barca have redeemed themselves somewhat after that dreadful seven days last week: the 7-0 thumping of Rayo Vallecano on Sunday was the biggest away victory recorded by a Primera Division side this season. Malaga meanwhile, have won just two of their last 10 away matches in La Liga.
Good evening everyone, and welcome to Goal.com's LIVE, play-by-play coverage, of Barcelona vs Malaga from Camp Nou. I'm Alex Mott, and I'll be your commentator for today's crucial La Liga clash.
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