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La Liga: Messi welcomes birth of third son, Barcelona get past Malaga

Philippe Coutinho of Barcelona scores against Malaga during their La Liga game on Saturday (Image: Twitter)

Bengaluru, March 11: La Liga leaders FC Barcelona made short work of Malaga, beating them 2-0 in the absence of their star Lionel Messi, who missed the game for the birth of his third child. Argentine star Messi announced the birth of this third son, Ciro, on Instagram: "Welcome Ciro! Thank God everything went perfect. Mum and he are very well. We are super happy."

Football fixtures | Recent results

Messi has been with wife Antonella since he was 20 and has two other sons with her - five-year-old Thiago and two-year-old Mateo.

His team, Barcelona, meanwhile had no problem in tackling Malaga. Defender Yerry Minna replaced Messi in the squad, but did not play a role in the game.

Match stats: Malaga vs Barcelona

Barcelona are on 72 points in 28 games, 11 clear of Atletico Madrid, who play Celta Vigo on Sunday (March 11). Real Madrid, following a 2-1 win over Eibar, are on 57 points, one more than fourth-placed Valencia.

Luis Suarez gave Barca the lead in the 15th minute, squeezing himself between two Malaga defenders and heading the ball into the net following a cross by defender Jordi Alba. It was Suarez's 14th goal in 2018 in all competitions and provided Barca the confident for the rest of the game.

In the 21st minute, Paulinho played a one-two with Suarez and was sent through, but he clipped his shot outside.

Philippe Coutinho, however, made amends in the 28th minute for Barcelona. Ousmane Dembele turned with the ball to trick his defender and played it to Coutinho at the centre, who finished with a sick back-heel. Malaga's comeback hopes were foiled when Samuel Garcia was sent off two minutes later for a rash challenge on Alba.

Barcelona played out the rest of the game and managed to hold on a clean sheet.

Real Madrid piled the pressure on Barcelona earlier with a 2-1 win over Eibar.

Match stats: Eibar vs Real Madrid

Madrid had Cristiano Ronaldo to thank for as the Portuguese star scored both goals, including the late winner, at the Estadio Municipal de Ipurua.

Ronaldo put the visitors ahead against the run of play with a clean finish into the bottom-right corner after being sent through by Luka Modric.

Ronaldo had a shot from the edge of the box saved by the Eibar goalkeeper.

Eibar equalised in the 50th minute after Ivan Ramis pumped the ball in from a corner by Pedro Leon.

But Ronaldo had the final say, running in to fire a header across the goal to meet a cross by Dani Carvajal. Modric intercepted the Eibar counter and provided for Carvajal at the right flank.


Results:

Malaga 0 lost to Barcelona 2 (Luis Suarez 14, Philippe Coutinho 27)

Eibar 1 (Ivan Ramis 49) lost to Real Madrid 2 (Cristiano Ronaldo 33, 83)

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    Story first published: Sunday, March 11, 2018, 10:39 [IST]
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