Barcelona went back to the top of the table after goals from Gerard Pique, Pedro and Alexis Sanchez gave them a 3-0 win against Malaga.
Lionel Messi was named in the XI alongside Sanchez and Pedro, as the Blaugrana looked for the three points that would took them back to the summit of the League. The Boquerones meanwhile, named a fairly conservative line-up, opting to field Roque Santa Cruz up top on his own, with Duda, Pablo Perez and Juanmi in support.
It was the first game following Sandro Rosell’s resignation as Barca President, but it didn’t seem to have affected the players, as it was the Catalans who got off to the brighter start, with Alexis hitting the woodwork inside the first five minutes. Drifting in from the right the Chile international clipped an effort towards the far post, but his effort cannoned back off the crossbar.
The Costa del Sol outfit though, weren’t happy to just let Barca suffocate them with their attacking waves. Just moments later, Duda forced Victor Valdes into a smart save, as his 20 yard free kick looked destined to nestle into the top corner, only for the goalkeeper to push the shot around the post.
The hosts managed to get into their usual routine though, keeping possession well, with Xavi acting in his usual metronomic way. And it was his pass to Messi that nearly broke the deadlock, only for Willy Caballero to save well.
It was the two goalkeepers who were earning their crust in the first half, with Valdes and Willy saving miraculously within a minute. First, Marcos Angeleri’s header was stopped by the Spanish shot-stopper, then Jordi Alba’s long-range drive was palmed away.
But Willy couldn’t do anything about Pique’s close-range effort late on, as the defender tapped in after Xavi had swung in a corner.
After the break, Bernd Schuster’s men looked to get themselves back in the match, and almost got the equaliser, only for Alba to make a superb goal-line clearance after Bartlomiej Pawlowski’s weak shot.
But it was the home team who went closest to scoring again after the restart when Pique headed at goal. His effort however, bounced back off the bottom of the post and out.
Soon their lead was doubled though, as Messi laid in Pedro, who took a touch a slid a shot past Willy from 12 yards out.
Malaga’s early promise quickly faded, and with an hour gone on the clock, Tata Martino’s team had made it 3-0 as Pedro’s pass found Alexis, who tapped in unmarked at the back post.
The match descended into a training exercise from thereon in, as the Blaugrana headed back to the top of the Primera Division.
Barcelona 3-0 Malaga
Scorers: Pique 41 (B), Pedro 56 (B), Alexis 60 (B)
Barcelona: V. Valdes; D. Alves, Pique, Mascherano, J. Alba; Xavi (Sergi Roberto 77), Busquets, Fábregas; Alexis (Afellay 87), Messi, Pedro (Tello 61)
Malaga: Willy; Angeleri,S.Sánchez,Flávio,Antunes; Juanmi,Camacho,Tissone (Darder 81),Duda; P.Pérez (Morales 67), Santa Cruz (Pawlowski 25)