Barcelona score controversial opener in Malaga win — WATCH

Barcelona score controversial opener in Malaga win — WATCH

A controversial Gerard Deulofeu strike sent Barcelona on their way to a comfortable 2-0 victory over Malaga as they stretched their lead at the top of La Liga.

In the second minute at the Nou Camp, the ball clearly ran out of play before Lucas Digne crossed for Deulofeu, who flicked it in off a superb backheel, leaving Malaga irate.

"I don't see a problem with him".

However, other than the usual cries in favour of independence in the 17th minute to mark the fall of Catalonia in the Spanish War of Succession in 1714 and sporadic chants of "freedom", it was business as usual for Barca.

After their fortuitous start, Barcelona threatened again on 12 minutes after a quick exchange between Iniesta and Lionel Messi saw the Argentina playmaker release Digne, whose cross was blocked.

Alcácer was unfortunate to be denied a clear chance to justify the substitution with a goal as he was ruled offside in a tight stoppage time decision. "What's important is that he manufactures chances", Valverde said.

The bottom side then grew into the game when Venezuelan Alberto Penaranda let fly from distance, but saw his effort deflected behind by Mascherano.

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The visitors created another opening just before the interval, this time the delivery coming across goal from the left, but Castro missed his kick at the far post as the ball spun out for a throw.

"The change today was after two minutes, against Valencia, Girona, Eibar".

"We need to hold our head up high and get to work".

Real Betis rebounded from its demoralizing home loss to Valencia by defeating struggling Alaves 2-0.

Betis added to the lead with an own goal by Alaves defender Alexis Ruano midway through the second half.

Malaga started the second half brightly, with Roberto Rosales firing his shot straight at Barcelona goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen.

Iniesta's shoulder drops and turns were often too much to handle for Malaga and even though he has lost his pace, the Spanish midfield maestro is still a fine player who can dictate the direction of a game with the amount of flair he brings to the table.