Malaga conceded an early goal but pulled one back quickly and will head into the halftime break with only 45 minute standing between them and a spot in the Copa del Rey semifinals.
Barcelona got Malaga's blood pressure up a little in the 6th minute when Cesc Fábregas made a beautiful turn around the defender and moved in to the box. Xavi was lurking to his left all alone but the ball got stuck on Cesc's foot and he couldn't complete the pass.
Barca showed Malaga they were going to exploit the space they were being given in the middle and less than two minutes later, they took full advantage. Dani Alves made a perfectly timed overlapping run on the right before softly lofting a cross back across the box that was headed past Carlos Kameni to get Barca the opening goal of the match and a 1-0 lead.
Malaga were not phased and answered in the 12th minute. Duda found Joaquín with a precise pass right at the top of the Barcelona box. The midfielder took one touch around Gerard Piqué, who was defending well, and beat José Manuel Pinto to the lower corner to make it 1-1.
It's worth nothing that the counter attack started after an apparently hand ball by Malaga's Sebastian Fernandez. It matters because three minutes later Manuel Iturra was shown a yellow card for virtually the same hand ball foul that Fernandez was not called for.
Barca came close in the 25th minute when Lionel Messi, who had been quiet up to that point, jumped on a poorly cleared ball by Martín Demichelis and raced in to the box one-on-on with Kameni. The keeper was up to the task stonewalling Messi before a teammate cleared the ball out for a corner. Kameni made another excellent save on the ensuring corner kick denying Messi at the near post.
More near magic from Barcelona in the 36th minute. Messi wound the Malaga defense in circles before playing a lovely one-two with Andres Iniesta 20-yards out from goal. The chance went to the midfielder and Iniesta hammered his shot off the cross bar, just inches from putting Barca back in front.
If this result holds after the second half, Malaga would advance on away goals. Still 45 minutes (or more) to go though. Look out for a red card playing a part in the second half after there were six yellow cards (three per side) handed out in the first half.