2016/2017 Spanish Primera División
  • Diego Llorente (68')
  • Juankar (90'+7')

Barcelona held to goalless draw by 9-man Malaga

Barcelona looked as off-colour as their poorly superstar Lionel Messi as they struggled to break down Malaga at the Camp Nou.

There was no place for Messi in Barca's matchday squad after he contracted a vomiting bug and without him his teammates laboured to a 0-0 draw which did little for their hopes of retaining their league title.

Gerard Pique was involved in the main moments going forward, having a goal disallowed for offside and then being hauled down in the box soon afterwards as decisions went against Luis Enrique's side, who were also without the suspended Luis Suarez.

Neymar had the final chance deep into injury-time, but Malaga goalkeeper Carlos Kameni made the last in a series of excellent saves to keep out his header in a game where the visitors ended with nine men.

Paco Alcacer's Barca misfortune continued when he had a goal ruled out for offside in the second minute and it was to be the start of another wretched day for the former Valencia forward.

Sergi Roberto was getting into some dangerous positions down the right, but first Alcacer and then Denis Suarez miscued efforts from the full-back's deliveries.

Kameni tipped a Pique effort on to the crossbar and Rafinha's curler just missed the top right-hand corner of the Cameroon stopper's goal.

Malaga's best hope of a goal was on the breakaway, with Juande Ramos essentially deploying two banks of five between Barcelona and Kameni's goal most of the time, and Sandro Ramirez's powerful effort from the edge of the area had to be fielded by Marc-Andre Ter Stegen.

Kameni produced more heroics after half-an-hour with a stunning one-handed save to keep out Rafinha's drive after Neymar had laid the ball into the path of his compatriot.

The Nou Camp rose as one to claim a penalty when Arda Turan was flattened in an aerial collision, but none was forthcoming, with Pique also getting no joy from the officials when he felt he was manhandled in the box by Diego Llorente.

In between those two penalty appeals Malaga could - and perhaps should - have gone in front.

Juankar breached the Barca defence, raced around Ter Stegen, but was beaten by the tight angle and could only find the side-netting.

The visitors were forced to play the final 20 minutes with 10 men as Llorente was dismissed for chopping down Neymar in full flight.

Barca stepped up the pressure as the game entered its final 10 minutes, with substitute Ivan Rakitic flashing a header wide from a corner and Miguel Torres charging down an Andre Gomes volley.

Pique had a goal ruled out for offside after a Gomes header hit the bar and then came their third, and most clear-cut, penalty claim.

Hesitant defending from Mikel Villanueva allowed emergency centre-forward Pique to get goal side of him and the Venezuelan responded by using his arm to drag Pique to the floor. Astonishingly referee Ricardo de Burgos again said no.

Kameni then stretched to claw out Neymar's near-post header in the dying seconds, although the African had been at fault in misjudging the flight of the cross.

Juankar was sent off as Malaga protested for the final whistle to blow, which it duly did after eight minutes of additional time to send the Nou Camp faithful home frustrated.

Spanish Primera División Standings

1 Barcelona 24 +38 54
2 Atletico Madrid 24 +17 47
3 Real Madrid 23 +13 45
4 Sevilla FC 23 +13 37
5 Getafe 24 +9 36
6 Alavés 23 -3 35
7 Real Sociedad 24 +5 34
8 Real Betis 23 -3 32
9 Valencia 23 +4 31
10 Eibar 24 -1 31
11 Levante 24 -7 30
12 Leganes 24 -5 29
13 Espanyol 23 -10 28
14 Athletic Bilbao 23 -5 27
15 Real Valladolid 24 -10 26
16 Celta Vigo 24 -7 24
17 Girona 23 -10 24
18 Rayo Vallecano 24 -14 23
19 Villarreal 23 -8 20
20 Huesca 23 -16 18