By ADAM TROXTELL
With the window of opportunity wide open for Barcelona, Malaga was more than happy to slam it shut.
A seventh-minute goal by Juanmi was enough to see off Barcelona, 1-0 at the Nou Camp on Saturday. The game was a golden chance for the Blaugrana to jump over league leaders Real Madrid, who doesn’t play until Sunday.
Instead, Barcelona are still looking up at a one-point gap that could become even larger by the end of the weekend. But the result was not for the want of trying. Barcelona retained 71 percent of possession and put six shots on target.
The Catalan side was also called offside seven times while bearing down on a disciplined Malaga defense. It’s the second time this season Malaga has shutout Barcelona after a goalless draw between the teams back in September 2014.
This time, Malaga found a way to steal one at the other end. A long free kick fell to Dani Alves, but his pass back to Barcelona goalkeeper Claudio Bravo was intercepted by Juanmi. The 21-year-old rounded Bravo with ease and passed the ball into an empty net.
Barcelona wasn’t the only casualty to a lower ranked opponent. Manchester United fell 2-1 to Swansea for the second time this season in English Premier League play.
Bayern Munich dealt out another thrashing in the Bundesliga, while PSG won its first Ligue 1 game in February.
Here are some more recaps from the Saturday’s action across Europe’s top leagues:
ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE
Ki Sung-yeung lives in the nightmares of Manchester United manager Louis Van Gaal.
After scoring in a surprise victory against Man United on opening day of the 2014/2015 English Premier League season, the South Korean international was once again on the score sheet in Swansea City’s 2-1 comeback win at home on Saturday. It is the first time in club history that the Swans have swept Man United in the league.
The Red Devils took the lead when Wayne Rooney cut in from the left to find Angel Di Maria in the box, who instead sent a one-touch pass to Ander Herrera. The Spaniard tucked it inside the far post for his second goal of the season in the 28th minute.
Just two minutes later, Ki was the man. He applied the finish to a low cross from Jonjo Shelvey and kept things even at halftime.
The second half was all Man United up until the 73rd minute. Swansea got forward down the left before shifting the ball back to a wide open Shelvey, whose driven shot deflected off the head of Bafetimbi Gomis and past a wrong-footed David De Gea.
Continental hangover was perhaps to blame when Ben Mee’s late headed goal handed Burnley a valuable 1-1 draw against Chelsea.
After scoring against Paris Saint-Germain in midweek UEFA Champions League play, Branislav Ivanovic once again made an impact when he broke the deadlock in the 14th minute.
Burnley was encouraged by a red card to Nemanja Matic when he shoved down Ashley Barnes, after Barnes left his studs into Matic seconds earlier. The Clarets put six shots on target, with Mee’s making the biggest difference.
Manchester City took full advantage of Chelsea’s draw, cutting Chelsea’s lead at the top of the league to five with a 5-0 destruction of Newcastle. David Silva scored twice and assisted on Edin Dzeko’s goal that had Man City up 3-0 by halftime.
Here is a full look at results from England:
Aston Villa 1, Stoke 2
Chelsea 1, Burnley 1
Crystal Palace 1, Arsenal 2
Hull 2, QPR 1
Sunderland 0, West Brom 0
Swansea 2, Manchester United 1
Manchester City 5, Newcastle 0
FRENCH LIGUE 1
Paris Saint-Germain sits on top of the Ligue 1 standings for at least a day after finishing off a 3-1 win against Toulouse.
Adrien Rabiot scored twice, while Thiago Silva added a 73rd minute header to see PSG to its first league victory in February. After last weekend’s surprise draw against Caen, fans may have been afraid history was repeating when Wissam Ben Yedder pulled a goal back for Toulouse in the 51st minute.
By then, Rabiot already had his two goals, both set up thanks to some fine wing play by Javier Pastore. Substitute Jean-Christophe Bahebeck came on in the 69th minute before applying the cross for the decisive third goal.
In league play, the goals just keep flowing for Bayern Munich.
This time it was promoted club Paderborn that bore the brunt of a 6-0 thrashing from the German champions. Robert Lewandowski opened the scoring in the 24th minute before adding a second seven minutes later.
Things went from bad to worse for Paderborn in the second half when Florian Hartherz was sent off as he brought down Arjen Robben at the back post in a clear scoring opportunity. The Dutch winger dispatched the penalty for the first of his two goals.
Franck Ribery added number four before 20-year-old Mitchell Weiser netted his first ever league goal for Bayern Munich in the 78th minute. The win takes Bayern 11 points ahead at the top of the Bundesliga.
Werder Bremen has now gone six games without a loss after a 1-1 draw against UEFA Champions League chasing Schalke 04. Sebastian Proedl handed Bremen the draw with a 90th minute goal.
Here are all the results from Germany:
Augsburg 2, Bayern Leverkusen 2
Freiburg 1, Hoffenheim 1
Mainz 3, Frankfurt 1
Paderborn 0, Bayern Munich 6
Schalke 1, Werder Bremen 1
FC Koln 1, Hannover 1
What do you think of this morning’s results? Surprised to see Barcelona fall to Malaga? What did you think of today’s topsy/turvy day in the EPL?
Share your thoughts below.
Looking forward to the Champions League game between City and Barcelona. I’m sure City’s coaching staff took notice of this slip-up from them against Malaga. Who will win, City or Barcelona? My prediction for the match: City 1 – 1 Barcelona
What a remarkable turn around for Sunderland since they picked up JD and got rid of JA. GP is a genius. He shud be in the running for JK’s job
Are you still swooning over this scoreless draw against West Brom or was your post intended as a sarcasm?