A roundup of all of Sunday’s action in Spain’s top flight…
Malaga 0-2 Barcelona
Barcelona were without the undisputed best player ever, Lionel Messi, as the 30-year-old Argentine withdrew from the squad due to the birth of his third child. This was, of course, little deterrent for the Barca buzzsaw, as Ernesto Valverde’s side remained unbeaten on the league season. Only 10 games remain in the quest for invincibility.
With deputies like Luis Suarez and Philippe Coutinho on his side, it’s no wonder Barca continue to roll even without Messi in the squad. The club’s “other” South American superstars picked up the slack and bagged a goal each, assisted by some guys named Jordi Alba and Ousmane Dembele, respectively, not long before Malaga were reduced to 10 men after 30 minutes.
Messi will be back for Wednesday’s Champions League round-of-16 second leg against Chelsea, for which the Blaugrana are slight favorites at 1-1 after the first leg away from home.
Eibar 1-2 Real Madrid
Cristiano Ronaldo scored both goals for Real Madrid as Los Blancos were pushed to their limits late on by eighth-place Eibar.
Ronaldo opened the scoring after 34 minutes, but Ivan Ramis brought the home side back to 1-1 just five minutes into the second half. A point appeared to be on the cards, until Ronaldo broke Eibar’s hearts six minutes before full-time.
Madrid remain 15 points back of Barca, who lead Atletico Madrid by 11 points in the title race (Atleti host ninth-place Celta Vigo on Sunday).
Elsewhere in La Liga
Sevilla 0-2 Valencia
Getafe 0-1 Levante
Sunday’s La Liga schedule
Espanyol vs. Real Sociedad — 7 a.m. ET
Atletico Madrid vs. Celta Vigo — 11:15 a.m. ET
Las Palmas vs. Villarreal — 1:30 p.m. ET
Athletic Bilbao vs. Leganes — 3:45 p.m. ET