Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez were both absent from Barcelona’s La Liga match against Malaga at the Camp Nou due to illness and suspension respectively, as Neymar and Barcelona failed to break down Malaga’s resolve and were held to a goalless draw by a Malaga team that were down to nine men.
Barça, as expected, controlled the match, but couldn’t break the deadlock with Malaga goalkeeper Carlos Kameni, having the game of his life and making top-class saves to deny Rafinha, Gerard Pique, and Neymar.
The hosts dominated the match, with possessions, attempts and overall game play going their way, everything except a goal. Even with two Malaga players Llorente and Juankar getting sent off in the 69th and 93rd minute respectively (Llorente; for a cynical challenge on Messi, and Juankar; for saying something to the referee,) the three points proved elusive for Luis Enrique’s side.
A frustrated Neymar, who was under pressure to deliver in the absence of Messi and Suarez, could only do so much, and Sergio Busquets’ role as captain for Barca in today’s match (with both Lionel Messi and Andres Iniesta out,) was marred with a draw. Both players, whose frustrations only increased as they saw their team lose out on two penalty appeals; against Arda Turan and Gerard Pique.
The result, however, gives rivals Real Madrid a boost going into the derby match against Atletico Madrid, as they lead Barcelona, who are second on the log, with a point.