The defender scored the all important goal on 73 minutes to give the Catalans all three points and maintain their 100% record in La Liga this season
Image Credit: FCB Foto – Twitter
Barcelona maintained their 100% record in La Liga after Thomas Vermaelen scored his first goal on a Barça shirt to give the Catalans a 1-0 victory at the Camp Nou,
Javi Garcia’s side drew 0-0 against Barcelona on home soil last season before stunning the Azulgranas with a 1-0 victory at Camp Nou back in February and they looked set to get the same impressive result in their first away game of the season after shutting down the Catalans for the first 72 minutes before the Belgian defender separated the sides with a left-footed half volley from just inside the area.
Barcelona dominated from start to finish and had an early goal disallowed when Luis Suarez was penalised for a shove on his marker. Javier Mascherano almost got the opener but his powerful header hit the crossbar.
Malaga’s most notable chance to score was Juan Carlos’ optimistic long-range lob from inside his own half. However, they could easily have conceded more than four goals were it not for the heroics of their go Carlos Kameni who pulled off a string of magnificent saves but could do nothing to save Vermaelen’s strike 17 minutes from time.
Brazilian forward Neymar returned first-team action after recovering from mumps and midfielder Sergio Busquets also made the starting line-up, shoving off an ankle injury scare.
It was Barça that started the party with Luis Suarez heading home inside four minutes, only to see the effort ruled out for a foul with the referee signalling a push on Marcos Angeleri.
The Catalans were in control of the game and continued to dominate possession but it was Malaga came close next when Juan Carlos almost caught the home side off guard after he sent an audacious lob from inside his own half that hit the top of Claudio Bravo‘s net.
That was the closest Malaga would come for a while as Javier Mascherano came very close to breaking the deadlock on the 25th minute when he latched on to a pin-point cross from Lionel Messi to send a powerful header towards goal, only to be denied by the crossbar.
Neymar then had an attempt on goal moments later but his left-footed effort was too weak to beat Carlos Kameni, who comfortable caught the ball.
Barcelona had two penalty shouts later on with Miguel Torres handling Neymar’s ball in the area and Angeleri got away unpunished after a clumsy tackle on Luis Suarez.
Good work from Neymar set up Messi for a glorious chance in the box but the Argentine’s shot wasn’t powerful enough to beat Kameni as a result of Neymar’s unexpected cutback pass from 12 yards going just behind him.
The Argentinian then called Kameni into action once more, forcing a diving save from the goalkeeper with a powerful left-foot rocket from outside the box. Kameni then made two more saves moments later to keep his team on course for at least a point.
The inspired goalie was finally beaten in the 73rd minute. After parrying a cross from Luis Suarez, Kameni wasn’t fast enough to get to his goal after the ball went to Vermaelen, who drilled a half-volley into the back of the net from just inside the box, the former Arsenal man’s first goal since 2012.
Malaga improved on their attacking threat after conceding and could have gotten the equaliser in stoppage time when Charles managed to sort his feet out in the box but the Brazilian was unable to apply the finish to Cop’s inviting low cross.
The win is Barcelona’s second 1-0 victory in two Liga games this season but they maintain their 100% record as they look to defend the title.
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