Fightback with one eye on Wembley (1-3)
FC Barcelona closed their league season with another away win, coming from behind to beat Malaga 1-3 with goals from Bojan (pen), Afellay and Bartra -a result and a performance to give added confidence ahead of the Wembley final.
On a hot Malaga afternoon, the league champions signed off their third successive league winning campaign with a great fightback against Malaga in a game that showed once again that Barça always go out with the aim of winning every match, even when there is theoretically nothing at stake,
An opening Malaga goal from Seba was wiped out by a Bojan penalty and second half goals from Afellay and Bartra –his first in this competition - to see Barça end the campaign on 96 points and with a record 14 away wins.
The two teams came out fired up from the start and Thiago and Duda tested Caballero and Pinto respectively with early efforts. Guardiola had sent out a team full of fringe players, with four Barça B youngsters –Bartra, Fontas, Sergio Roberto and Thiago on show and a front line made up of Bojan, Affelay and Jeffren, but it only took them 20 minutes or so to impose the Barça style on the game, control possession and begin to threaten.
Seba and Bojan on target
However, just when the visitors looked most dangerous, Malaga hit them on the break and Duda set up Seba to make it 1-0 on the half hour mark. Barça’s reaction came just before half time when Bojan put away a much protested penalty after he’d been fouled by Eliseu.
Afellay puts Barça ahead
Afellay had a great chance to make it 1-2 on 66 minutes when he was one on one with the keeper, but Caballero stuck out a hand to deny him. Ten minutes later, there was no stopping the Dutchman though, as he hit a beautifully struck shot from the edge of the box to put the champions ahead.
Bartra goal finishes the season
Guardiola had made his changes just before Afellay’s goal, bringing on Alves, Mascherano and Pedro for some game time before next weekend, with Adriano, Jeffren and Abidal making way. However, it wasn’t one of the more experienced players who got the third goal, but Marc Bartra, heading home powerfully from an Alves corner to record his first goal for the team. In the final minutes, Malaga brought on Arnau for a final testimonial appearance before his retirement as the 2010-11 league season came to an end.