Piqué celebrates his goal against Malaga. PHOTO: VÍCTOR SALGADO-FCB.

Barça put the institutional turmoil of the last week behind them, as they treated the Barça fans to a brilliant all round performance and reaffirmed their top spot in the league with a 3-0 win over Malaga.

Fast, precise and full of attacking threat, Barça returned to the Camp Nou after 18 fays without a home game and from the off they had Malaga pinned back in their own half. After just 5 minutes, Alexis rounded off  a great team move with an effort which rattled the woodwork .

Malaga showed that they could pose a threat too though, when Duda brought a good stop from Valdes from a free kick and with Santa Cruz  - Schuster’s main reference up front – coming off early on, it was clear that dead ball situations were going to be the visitors’ main threat and Valdes was again in action on the half hour, saving a point blank effort by Angeleri from a free kick out on the left.Caballero in the Malaga goal was also being kept busy, saving well from Alba, but although Barça were getting in behind the Malaga defence- particularly through Alexis – they were just missing an edge up front.

Ironically perhaps, the opening goal came from a Barça corner, with Piquè finding himself free at the back post to score his second goal in two games and Martino’s side went in one up at the break – perhaps deserving of more after thirteen shots on goal and 73%  possession.

Malaga nearly drew level at the start of the second half, with only a timely intervention from Alba keeping the out, but normal service was soon resumed as Barça laid siege to the visitors’ goal. Caballero saved from Alexis (51) and Cesc (53) and Piqué was denied his second by the woodwork (54), but the second was bound to come sooner or later and Pedro rounded off a great team move, with an assist from Messi, on 54 minutes.

With Xavi leading the team from midfield and Messi dominating up front, Barça no had their tails up and Alexis made it three on the hour mark. Although they continued to run the game, Barça now took their foot off the gas a little and Martino took off Pedro, Xavi and Alexis, with Ibrahim Afellay  getting a big round of applause when he came on to round off a great night of football.

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