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Barcelona beat Malaga while Lionel Messi attends birth of son

13 March 2018
Barcelona beat Malaga while Lionel Messi attends birth of son

Messi was replaced by Yerry Mina for the game at La Rosaleda, live on Sky Sports Football, with Barcelona citing "personal reasons" for his absence. The Argentina forward later announced his wife gave birth to a boy named Ciro. "We're Barca and there's a lot of pressure here, so for that reason there's been a lot of focus on him". The visiting Catalans held the challenge of Malaga by the neck and made the second of the game look like a light training session.

Messi scored the equaliser in the first leg at Stamford Bridge as Barcelona escaped with a 1-1 draw.

The comfortable victory leaves Barca 11 points clear of Atletico Madrid, who host Celta Vigo on Sunday, at the top of LaLiga. Luis Suarez opened the floodgates for his side in the 15th minute when he scored a sublime goal giving Barcelona a 1-0 lead.

The 20-year-old Frenchman has largely flattered to deceive since signing for Barca from Borussia Dortmund for an eye-watering 105 million euros (S$170 million) last August, despite having played less than two seasons as a professional. He showed the verve and decisiveness that he lacked in prior matches with his runs and passing choices.

Ernesto Valverde's team came out happy to control and impose themselves on a despairing Malaga side in the second half, with the visitors content to take their foot off the pedal somewhat.

"(Dembele) is a player who needs time.

"Leo is the best in the world so you will always miss him when he's not there but something fabulous has happened in his life with his third son".

Malaga stayed in last place after a seventh consecutive loss.