Barcelona coach Valverde pleased with Dembele for Malaga win


Barcelona issued Saturday morning a brief statement in which reported at the last minute excluding Messi from the match against Malaga at La Rosaleda.

Luis Suarez opened the floodgates for his side in the 15th minute when he scored a sublime goal giving Barcelona a 1-0 lead.

Messi was watching the game on a television in hospital as Luis Suarez and Philippe Coutinho put his team two up inside half an hour at La Rosaleda, before Samuel Garcia was sent off in the 30th minute for a risky tackle on Jordi Alba.

Despite their one-man advantage, though, Barca didn't add to their tally after the break and Valverde conceded that thoughts had turned to Wednesday's crucial Champions League game against Chelsea.

Malaga lost Samuel Garcia to a direct red card for a rash studs-first tackle into the foot of Alba on the half-hour mark.

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"We came to play a hard game and we scored early".

While Barcelona already has one hand on the La Liga title with a staggering lead of 11 points at the top of the La Liga table.

Coutinho nearly capped off a great evening with his second goal, another sublime interchange with Suarez nearly brought the Brazilian in for the goal but he couldn't quite gather the ball before Roberto had charged him down. He has scored 61 goals for Argentina from 123 appearances so far. Eibar's Ivan Ramis had equalised in between to give the home side hope. "He knows he is going to score".

This was, of course, little deterrent for the Barca buzzsaw, as Ernesto Valverde's side remained unbeaten on the league season. So I am happy with the three points above all.

In particular, Dembele's brilliant turn and pass was bettered only by Coutinho's flicked finish for what was a superb second goal. The first leg finished 0-0.