First Division - Day 33

Barcelona 3 - Málaga 0

Barcelona: Víctor Valdés; Reiziger, Puyol (Márquez 45'), Oleguer, Van Bronckhorst; Xavi, Cocu, Davids (Iniesta 46'); Luis García (Overmars 83'), Saviola, Ronaldinho. 4-3-3.
Málaga: Calatayud; Gerardo (Alexis 61'), Josemi, Fernando Sanz, Valcarce (Iznata 73'); Edgar, Romero, Leko, Insúa; Salva (Manu 81'), Diego Alonso. 4-4-2.

Team changes: Barça: Puyol, Ronaldinho for Motta, Iniesta / Málaga: Fernando Sanz, Romero for Litos, Miguel Angel.

1-0. 18. Saviola. Got ahead of marker to turn Luis García cross into net.
2-0. 24. Luis García. Picked up pass from Saviola and slid shot past keeper.
3-0. 35. Cocu. Shot from outside area which Calatayud turned in off post.

Barcelona moved up to third place in the table after a comfortable 3-0 win over Málaga, their fifteenth league game in a row without defeat. Frank Rijkaard's side were on top right from the start, with Calatayud saving at point blank range from Cocu and Ronaldinho shooting just wide. Saviola opened the scoring in the eighteenth minute when he got on the end of Luis García's cross to beat the keeper, and returned the favour a few minutes later for García to score a second.

Málaga's only reply was a header from Diego Alonso which brushed the crossbar, and Cocu extended Barça's lead ten minutes before the break with a long strike which Calatayud helped into the net. The Catalans decided to ease off after that, already thinking of next Sunday's game with Real Madrid, but they suffered a blow when Puyol limped off with an injury just before the interval.

Rijkaard decided to reserve Davids as well at half time, the Dutch midfielder only one card away from a suspension, and Márquez and Iniesta came on as replacements. Iniesta set up chances for Saviola and Luis García in the second half, but neither were able to convert them into goals. It didn't really matter though, and Juande Ramos by then had given the game up for lost and was trying out his lesser used players. Málaga stay in eighth place, but with most results going in their favour they are still only two points away from the UEFA cup spots.