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First Division - Day 20

Barcelona 4 - Málaga 1

Barcelona: Pinto; Dani Alves, Puyol (Marc Bartra 67'), Mascherano, Adriano; Fàbregas, Keita, Iniesta (Afellay 75'); Cuenca, Messi, Pedro (Tello 84'). 4-3-3. Málaga: Kameni; Jesús Gámez, Sergio Sánchez, Demichelis, Eliseu; Nacho Camacho, Duda; Portillo, Buonanotte (Seba Fernández 60'), Cazorla (Recio 67'); Rondón (Van Nistelrooy 60'). 4-2-3-1.

1-0. 14. Puyol. Got on the end of Iniesta cross to turn shot wide of Kameni.
1-1. 26. Rondón. Steered header down across Pinto from Jesús Gámez cross.
2-1. 35. Messi (penalty). After Jesús Gámez tripped Iniesta as he entered box.
3-1. 59. Messi (penalty). After Messi himself brought down by Duda near to goal.
4-1. 64. Messi. Ran on to Iniesta pass and lifted ball over Kameni to score.

Yellow cards: Camacho 57', Duda 59', Pedro 67', Fàbregas 81'.

Barcelona kept up the fight against Real Madrid to the end with a 4-1 victory over Málaga, although Madrid's win at Athletic Bilbao later in the evening meant that they cannot now overtake their old rivals. Coming a few days after Guardiola announced he will be handing over to his assistant Tito Vilanova next season, it was an emotive night in the Nou Camp, with the crowd chanting their manager's name throughout. . There was an early scare when Duda hit Pinto's far post with a free kick, but a few minutes later Messi and Iniesta combined following a corner to set up Puyol for the opener. Midway through the first half Rondón got on the end of a Jesús Gámez cross to head past Pinto and level the scores, but ten minutes later Barça were awarded a dubious penalty when Gámez brought down Iniesta as he was entering the area, and Messi stepped up to drill home the resulting spot kick. A quarter of an hour in to the second half referee Turienzo Alvarez gave Messi a second penalty when he was brought down from behind by Duda. And after converting that one as well, he went on to complete his hat-trick when he ran on to Iniesta's pinpoint pass to lift the ball over the advancing Kameni and run it in to the net. It was another landmark for the little man, his 68th of the season setting a new European record. There was still time for Van Nistelrooy to test Pinto a couple of times, but Málaga had lost this one, and they still have some work to do to maintain that fourth Champions League spot.