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January 22, 2012
• Estadio La Rosaleda, Málaga
Referee: Alberto Undiano Mallenco
• Attendance: 28900
S. Rondón 85'
L. Messi 33', 51', 80'
A. Sánchez 48'
Thanks for joining us today. I'm Roger Gonzalez, and it's been a pleasure. Be sure to check out the match report and player ratings. From La Rosaleda, Barca win 4-1 over Malaga.
90' + 2'
That's it! Barca win 4-1! What a victory. Pressure is on Real Madrid now, who sit only two points above.
Couple added minutes.
Couple minutes remaining from La Rosaleda.
Goal Malaga. Rondon finds the net with a quality finish from the right side of the box into the low far post.
Not much time remaining as Malaga look for a consolation goal.
Goal Barca! Messi again for the hat-trick! The Argentine, with another solo run, finishes past Caballero with a soft effort from the left side of the box into the lower-right corner. 4-0!
Remember football fans, Barca return to action midweek against Real Madrid in the Copa del Rey.
15 minutes to go in the contest as Alves plays in a cross to the left side of the box that Thiago heads on frame, but Caballero saves with no trouble.
Messi!!! NEARLY THE THIRD! Off a set piece, the Argentine curves in a shot towards the upper-left corner, but the ball bangs off the crossbar, bouncing down and out. Can't get much closer than that.
Pedro looks set to come on for the last 15 minutes as Barca are in cruise control. No way they don't leave with three points.
Jonathan Dos Santos
Dos Santos come on for Adriano.
First sub for Barca. Cuenca comes on for Alexis, who scored his seventh league goal today.
Yellow Card Camacho
Maresca also comes off as Rondon comes on.
Ruud Van Nistelrooy
Seba Fernandez comes on for Van Nistelrooy, who did nothing more than fall on top of Mascherano.
Received a lot of 3-0 predictions on Twitter, which all obviously look good at the moment. More to come?
Barca are looking for more, but this one looks out of reach. To make things worse for Malaga, Xavi is warming up.
The last goal was Messi's 21st of the league season. What a strike it was.
Assist Thiago Alcántara
Another one! Messi! 3-0! What a goal! The Argentine receives the ball after Malaga lose it in their defensive half and attacks, slicing through the home defence before putting the ball into the left side of the goal from the right side of the box.
Assist Thiago Alcántara
Goal Alexis Sánchez
Goal Alexis Sanchez! 2-0 Barca! A low shot from Thiago at the top of the box is saved by Cabellero. The ball flew to the left where Adriano sent it back in, and the youngster got another look on goal, but was again denied by the Malaga custodian. Sanchez was there for the rebound, drilling the ball off a defender's head and into the goal.
Lovely play by Barca as Messi sends Adriano down the left, and the Brazilian sends in a low cross in front of goal that Iniesta can't get a touch on.
Here we go!
The second half is seconds away. Hope it's as good as the first!
Kenny_Zed on Twitter thinks Barca win 3-0. Who gets the goals?
That's the end of the first half. Messi's clinical header has Barca up 1-0. Malaga could have scored with Isco having numerous chances, but Valdes has been up to the task. We will be back with the second half shortly.
Long ball over the top to Van Nistelrooy, who infiltrates the box, but instead of firing off a shot, he lands on top of Mascherano as Barca clear. Half time!
Martyn MCGrath on Twitter agrees with Valdes as the best of the first half. An early goal by Isco would have changed the game completely.
Few minutes left in the first half. Messi is the star with his fantastic goal, but a lot of the credit has to go to Valdes, who made three great saves early on Isco.
Thanks to Chudi Godwin, who on Twitter writes that Barca will win 2-0.
Pellegrini doesn't look to happy on the bench right now, and he shouldn't be. Malaga are struggling.
Eliseu wins a corner with a run down the left. On the ensuing kick, a ball from Cazorla sends Barca on the counter as Malaga can't control the cross well.
Goal Barca!!! Messi!! A cross from Adriano on the left finds the head of the Argentine perfectly in the middle of the box, and he makes no mistake, thumping the ball into the left side of the goal to beat Caballero. Great goal!
Cabellero! A cross from Messi on the left aimed for Alexis in the box is saved by the goalkeeper. The clearance sends the hosts on the counterattack, with Van Nistelrooy getting a touch at the far post off a cross from Eliseu, but the effort was not even close.
Demichelis saves it from going in! Abidal was played through perfectly on the late, but he could not settle the ball well and get a shot on goal. The Frenchman played Messi at the top of the box, but his effort on frame was cleared by the Argentine defender.
Messi goes on the break, looking to play Iniesta through, but Demichelis slides and makes the stop.
25 minutes in and no real threat from Barcelona yet, other than a deflected Messi shot. How much does not having Xavi factor in?
Decent chance for Barcelona as Messi makes a run towards goal, playing a low ball through to Alexis at the left side of the box, but the Chilean's effort was poor, finding Caballero with a weak shot.
Isco sends Van Nistelrooy through on goal with a soft lob, but the former Real Madrid man was way offside.
Pique!!! Off a set piece, the Spanish defender skied in the box for a header but it was not even close! Lot of power behind it, but no accuracy.
Valdes again! Off a corner, the goalkeeper denied Isco's header at the front post with his leg, and the youngster grabbed the rebound and shot from close but was again denied by Valdes. Wow!
ISCOOOOOO! What a save by Valdes! The young Spaniard sent in a curving effort to the far post from the top of the box, but he was denied as Valdes just got a hand on it. Corner.
As a reminder, send in your predictions and comments to @RCGonzalez10
As always, it's hard to really settle down with the ball against Barcelona. Malaga are having a bit of trouble, failing to have constant possession. Barca are passing the ball around with ease but have nothing to show for it.
Messi!!!! At the top of the box, the Barca star looked to work his magic with quality cuts, but his effort hit off a defender and flew by the post. On the corner, the Malaga defence held strong, eliminating the threat.
Another chance for Barcelona as Messi plays Thiago down the left, and the youngster's cross found Alexis at the front post, but the diving header landed in Caballero's chest.
Iniesta makes a run down the left, playing Adriano towards the corner. The Brazilian played a ball back to the Spaniard, but it was too much as Malaga regained possession.
Barcelona are touching the ball around calmly as usual, looking for the right moment to attack.
Eliseu wins a free kick after being fouled while charging towards goal. On the set piece, the ball flies past the bye-line as the hosts waste an early chance.
Here we go!
The match is just minutes away. As always, be sure to stick with us after the game for the match report and player ratings.
As always, you can get involved on Twitter. Send predictions, comments and thoughts to @RCGonzalez10
It will be interesting to see how the Malaga attack does as Manuel Pellegrini chose Dutch veteran Van Nistelrooy. For Pep Guardiola's men, Xavi, Carles Puyol and Cesc Fabregas are being rested, while Victor Valdes returns in goal not participating midweek.
For the reigning Champions League winners: Valdes; Alves, Pique, Abidal, Adriano; Busquets, Mascherano, Thiago; Iniesta, Messi, Alexis
For the home side: Caballero; Gamez, Demichelis, Mathijsen, Monreal; Camacho, Maresca; Isco, Cazorla, Eliseu; Van Nistelrooy
The starting XI for each side will be in shortly. This should be an interesting contest. Barcelona are coming off their 2-1 victory at Real Madrid midweek, and they will surely rest a few players today. Malaga are hoping to earn a spot in Europe and will hope to at least earn a point today.
The home side enter the contest in 10th place with 25 points, but they sit only three points behind fifth place, as many teams are only a point or two ahead. The visitors are in second place, five points behind leaders Real Madrid.
Hello ladies and gentleman and welcome to Goal.com's LIVE text commentary of La Liga action. I'm Roger Gonzalez, and I'll be providing updates from the contest between Malaga and Barcelona at La Rosaleda.
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