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Barcelona find unlikely late matchwinner in reborn defender

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Former Arsenal defender Thomas Vermaelen proved to be the match-winner as Barcelona struggled past Malaga to register their second win in as many games in La Liga this season.

Barcelona played some decent football with ex-Liverpool superstar Luis Suarez unfortunate to be denied a penalty in the first half, while Malaga goalkeeper Carlos Kameni was in outstanding form in the game to repeatedly deny Lionel Messi as the Catalan giants created chances galore at the Camp Nou.


Barcelona had 75% of the ball and 22 shots on goal, but the only one that truly mattered came from the boot of Vermaelen, who powered home the winner in the 73rd minute, much to the delight of the Barcelona faithful.

The 29 year old centre back had an unfortunate start to his Barcelona career, restricted to just 1 appearance in the entirety of last season due to injury, but he has started both games at the beginning of this campaign, and will hope to enjoy a run in the team now that he seems back to his best.

Vermaelen has always had an eye for goal, scoring regularly for his previous two clubs Ajax and Arsenal, and as a ball playing defender, should be an ideal fit for Barcelona.

Last night's win was an important one for Barcelona, especially considering rivals Real Madrid smashed Real Betis 5-0 thanks to a Gareth Bale brace. Barcelona are currently second in the La Liga standings behind Celta Vigo, who continued their impressive start to the campaign with a 3-0 win against Rayo Vallecano.

Real Madrid are two points off the pace after being held to a 0-0 draw by Sporting Gijon in their season opener.


Barcelona: Bravo, Sergi, Mascherano, Vermaelen (Mathieu 90'), Alba, Rakitic (Rafinha 63'), Busquets, Iniesta, Messi, Suárez, Neymar (Ramírez - 87' )

Malaga: Kameni, Rosales, Angeleri, De Oliveira (Albentosa 25'), Torres, Da Luz Horta (Acosta 73'), Tissone, García del Pozo, Pérez López, Cop, Amrabat (Dias de Oliveira 54')

Score: Barcelona 1-0 Malaga (Vermaelen 73')