Málaga: Willy Caballero; Jesús
Gámez, Demichelis, Mathijsen, Monreal; Camacho, Maresca (Seba
Fernández 59'); Cazorla (Recio 78'), Isco, Eliseu; Van Nistelrooy
(Rondón 59'). 4-2-3-1.
Barcelona: Víctor Valdés; Dani Alves, Piqué, Mascherano, Abidal; Thiago, Busquets, Adriano; Iniesta (Pedro 72'), Messi, Alexis (Cuenca 63'). 4-3-3.
0-1. 32. Messi. Steered long header past Caballero from Adriano's cross.
0-2. 47. Alexis. Drove ball back in to net after Caballero saved from Thiago.
0-3. 50. Messi. Picked up Thiago pass and ran on to shoot low past keeper.
0-4. 80. Messi. Collected Pedro pass and ran on from hlf-way line to score.
1-4. 85. Rondón. Turned ball past Valdés after keeper pushed out Isco shot.
Yellow cards: Camacho 63'.
Barcelona threw down the challenge to leaders Real Madrid with a 1-4 victory at Málaga on Sunday evening, their first away win in the league in six weeks. Valdés had to be at his best though to keep out Isco three times early on, but with just over half an hour on the clock Messi got on the end of Adriano's cross to steer a strong header past Caballero. Five minutes in to the second half it was all over, Alexis scoring a second after Thiago's shot was blocked, and Messi picking up a short pass from Fàbregas before running on to beat the keeper again. The Argentinian forward came close to a third when he rattled the bar with a free kick, but ten minutes from the end he did complete his hat-trick with another amazing run from the halfway line. Rondón got a late consolation for Pellegrini's side after Valdés saved from Isco, and Rondón and Seba both headed wide after that, but Messi had already ended any hope of a comeback.