It was a night Barcelona will hope to soon forget as the team went down 2-0 to Malaga. A victory would have seen the team move into first place, following Real’s draw to Atletico.
Barcelona have been playing catch-up to Real for the better part the season. However, the Camp Nou side could not capitalize on the opportunity to overtake the Madrid side after Real had drawn to Atletico.
Malaga proved to be a stern opposition. Barca’s attacking strength was neutralized by the determined Malaga defenders. The team was also efficent in attack with Sandro Ramirez and Jony helping them earn three points which not many would have forseen prior to the game.
Málaga are the first side which have kept clean sheets in both their meetings with Barcelona in La Liga this season. Stop.
— OptaJose (@OptaJose) April 8, 2017
A mention needs to go towards Neymar’s red card booking after a hard tackle on Diego Llorente. The Brazilian striker had earned himself a yellow card previously through attempts to delay a free-kick. Veteran midfielder Iniesta defended the player, as well his other team-mates for the result.
“It was a real shame. We have missed a good opportunity to put ourselves in a favourable position to win LaLiga,” he said. “Hopefully we won’t slip up again but the league is more difficult. The table is how it is.”
Manager Luis Enrique called for his players to be more careful not to receive bookings in important games. However, he refered to the referee’s decision as “curious”. He told reporters this is not the first decision of this kind taken against his side.
“I believe the interpretation of what is worth a yellow card is very special,” Luis Enrique told reporters. “We have to be very careful in some games because there have been strong tackles from behind that did not result in a yellow even though they were clearly worth a booking.”
“And then tying your laces gets you a yellow. It is very curious that a team that does not play rough gets some incomprehensible yellow cards. Especially when the opponent makes numerous fouls, but does not get a yellow card for it. It is curious, but we are used to it.”
Neymar’s red card will mean Barcelona will not be able to use the player against Real Sociedad. However, if no additional suspension is added, the striker is expected to play in the derby against Real Madrid.