One day after Barcelona saw Real Madrid take the top spot in La Liga, the Blaugrana took it right back with a 3-0 win over Malaga. It was a big win for the defending champions, who dominated at the Camp Nou to, for at least one day, quiet any negativity surrounding the club in the wake of president Sandro Rosell's resignation.
Barcelona were on top of Malaga from the start, with the visitors struggling to complete passes, let alone mount a real threat to Victor Valdes' goal. But for all their time on the ball and shots from inside 15 yards, they couldn't break through until the 40th minute, when Gerard Pique struck on a penalty.
A corner kick found Alexis Sanchez coming free, but his momentum was carrying him away from goal at the front post so all he could do was nod the ball on. It worked perfectly, delivering the ball to Pique at the back post to smash into the open goal and Barcelona finally had themselves a lead.
Despite falling behind a goal, Malaga still couldn't mount an attack of note. Their best chance came on a shot from 35 yards, which Valdes did well to save.
Lionel Messi was a terror for Malaga and forced the visitors to swarm to him. When that happened, the rest of the Barcelona players were all alone. That was the case when he fed Pedro in the 55th minute and after a simple touch, Pedro finished beautifully to the far post for a 2-0 lead.
Six minutes later, Messi gave Malaga fits again. This time he dribbled circles through the midfield, drawing five Malaga defenders before finding Pedro, who played it across to Alexis for the simplest of finishes.
With three goals in hand and total control, Barcelona had done the job. The fans cheered, new club president Josep Maria Bartomeu smiled from the executive box and the Blaugrana were back on top of Spain.
Barcelona: Valdes, Pique, Mascherano, Alba, Alves, Fabregas, Xavi (Roberto 78'), Busquets, Pedro (Tello 61'), Alexis, Messi.
Goals: Pique 40', Pedro 55', Alexis 61'.
Malaga: Willy, Flavio, Antunes, Angeleri, Sanchez, Camacho, Perez (Morales 66'), Tissone, Duda, Juanmi, Santa Cruz (Pawlowski 25').