Barcelona made light of Lionel Messi’s absence and continued their march towards La Liga glory with a 2-0 victory over 10-man Malaga over weekend.
Typically, Messi was Barca’s match-winning hero when Ernesto Valverde’s side beat nearest rivals Atletico Madrid 1-0 last weekend, but sat this one out after his wife gave birth to the couple’s third child
Luis Suarez and Philippe Coutinho scored excellent goals with Messi missing inside the opening half hour and Barca’s lead at the summit – with Atleti to host Celta Vigo on Sunday – is now 11 points.
At 2-0 loss at La Rosaleda last April landed a damaging blow against Barcelona’s title defence last season, but this Malaga find themselves rooted hopelessly to the bottom of La Liga.
Any prospect of an unlikely comeback for the hosts became even more remote when right winger Samu was deservedly sent for an atrocious 30th-minute lunge on Jordi Alba.