Spanish La Liga
Barcelona1Malaga0

Barcelona 1-0 Malaga

Lionel Messi celebrates Thoams Vermaelen's winning goal
Barcelona lost at home to Malaga last season in La Liga

Thomas Vermaelen was Barcelona's unlikely goalscorer as the Spanish champions finally broke Malaga's resistance to win their opening home league fixture.

Barcelona failed to score in either league game against Malaga last season.

A repeat looked increasingly likely as goalkeeper Carlos Kameni denied Lionel Messi four times in the second half.

But with 18 minutes to go ex-Arsenal defender Vermaelen volleyed his first Barcelona goal to secure the points.

Vermaelen has endured a difficult time at Barcelona since signing from Arsenal last August.

Andres Iniesta shows off the Uefa Super Cup and Lionel Messi the European player of the year trophy
Barcelona won the treble last season and so far this season have added the Uefa Super Cup and Uefa's Player of the Year award for Lionel Messi

Injury restricted the Belgium international, 29, to just one appearance last season.

But he has started both of Barca's league games so far at the start of their title defence and prompted huge relief around the Nou Camp when he finally found a way past Kameni.

The Cameroon international stood firm against Messi but when he pushed away a Luis Suarez cross at full stretch, Vermaelen showed fine technique to strike the winner from 15 yards out.

Barcelona were denied what looked a strong penalty appeal in the first half when Suarez was challenged by Marcos Angeleri after Javier Mascherano, who has never scored for Barca, had headed against the bar.

Malaga looked dangerous on the break and almost went ahead through a spectacular long-range effort from Juan Carlos which landed on the roof of the net after 20 minutes.

Relive Barcelona's victory here.

Patience pays off

Thomas Vermaelen cost Barcelona £15m when he signed from Arsenal on a five-year contract in August 2014.

A serious hamstring injury delayed his debut until the final game of Barca's La Liga title success.

He may not be an automatic choice this season with Gerard Pique to return from injury.

But the former Ajax defender is likely to get his share of games and he won some goodwill with the supporters with his winning goal against Malaga, the 27th of his club career.

Line-ups

Barcelona

  • 13Bravo
  • 20Sergi
  • 14Mascherano
  • 23VermaelenSubstituted forMathieuat 90'minutes
  • 18Alba
  • 4RakiticSubstituted forRafinhaat 63'minutes
  • 5Busquets
  • 8Iniesta
  • 10Messi
  • 9L Suárez
  • 11NeymarSubstituted forRamírezat 87'minutes

Substitutes

  • 1ter Stegen
  • 12Rafinha
  • 15Bartra
  • 17El Haddadi
  • 19Ramírez
  • 24Mathieu
  • 28Gumbau

Malaga

  • 1Kameni
  • 18Rosales
  • 15Angeleri
  • 3Pena de OliveiraSubstituted forAlbentosaat 25'minutes
  • 23TorresBooked at 90mins
  • 10da Luz HortaSubstituted forAñor Acostaat 73'minutes
  • 12TissoneBooked at 89mins
  • 14García del PozoBooked at 43mins
  • 7Pérez López
  • 20Cop
  • 11AmrabatSubstituted forDias de Oliveiraat 54'minutes

Substitutes

  • 2Albentosa
  • 5Espinho
  • 9Dias de Oliveira
  • 13Ochoa
  • 17Barbosa Valente
  • 19Boka
  • 28Añor Acosta
Referee:
Santiago Jaime Latre
Attendance:
79,068

Match Stats

Home TeamBarcelonaAway TeamMalaga
Possession
Home75%
Away25%
Shots
Home22
Away4
Shots on Target
Home13
Away1
Corners
Home15
Away2
Fouls
Home4
Away21

Live Text

Match ends, Barcelona 1, Málaga 0.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Barcelona 1, Málaga 0.

Attempt missed. Charles (Málaga) right footed shot from the centre of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Juan Carlos.

Booking

Miguel Torres (Málaga) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Luis Suárez (Barcelona) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Foul by Miguel Torres (Málaga).

Substitution

Substitution, Barcelona. Jeremy Mathieu replaces Thomas Vermaelen.

Booking

Fernando Tissone (Málaga) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Luis Suárez (Barcelona) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Fernando Tissone (Málaga).

Offside, Barcelona. Rafinha tries a through ball, but Luis Suárez is caught offside.

Andrés Iniesta (Barcelona) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Fernando Tissone (Málaga).

Sergi Roberto (Barcelona) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Juan Carlos (Málaga).

Substitution

Substitution, Barcelona. Sandro Ramírez replaces Neymar.

Corner, Barcelona. Conceded by Carlos Kameni.

Attempt saved. Lionel Messi (Barcelona) left footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Neymar.

Offside, Barcelona. Rafinha tries a through ball, but Lionel Messi is caught offside.

Attempt missed. Duje Cop (Málaga) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the right. Assisted by Fernando Tissone with a headed pass.

Foul by Neymar (Barcelona).

Roberto Rosales (Málaga) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Attempt missed. Luis Suárez (Barcelona) left footed shot from the left side of the six yard box is close, but misses to the left.

Corner, Barcelona. Conceded by Marcos Angeleri.

Javier Mascherano (Barcelona) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Charles (Málaga).

Substitution

Substitution, Málaga. Juanpi replaces Ricardo Horta.

Goal!

Goal! Barcelona 1, Málaga 0. Thomas Vermaelen (Barcelona) left footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom left corner following a corner.

Corner, Barcelona. Conceded by Raúl Albentosa.

Attempt blocked. Lionel Messi (Barcelona) right footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Neymar.

Neymar (Barcelona) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by Fernando Tissone (Málaga).

Attempt saved. Rafinha (Barcelona) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Javier Mascherano.

Andrés Iniesta (Barcelona) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Fernando Tissone (Málaga).

Offside, Barcelona. Lionel Messi tries a through ball, but Luis Suárez is caught offside.

Attempt saved. Lionel Messi (Barcelona) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Rafinha.

Thomas Vermaelen (Barcelona) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Duje Cop (Málaga).

Thomas Vermaelen (Barcelona) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

goal

Scores, Results & Fixtures

Saturday 29th August 2015

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