Well, no one saw that coming. Barcelona missed the chance to go joint top of La Liga, instead losing ground on Real Madrid as Malaga claimed a well-deserved 2-0 win at La Rosaleda.
The 1-1 draw between Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid in the Madrid derby earlier in the day gave Luis Enrique’s side the chance to draw level with their title rivals at the top of the standings, but they could not capitalise on the opportunity.
Inevitably, the Spanish press was full of shock and drama after the result, but one report in particular has caught the imagination, with Jordi Gil, in Sport, describing a fascinating scene on the Barcelona bus home.
According to Gil, Lionel Messi, Javier Mascherano and Luis Suarez led an ‘intense’ Barcelona inquest after the very surprising defeat while Neymar, who was shown a red card in the game, merely sulked.
“Mascherano, Messi and Suarez came together and maintained an intense and serious conversation”, Gil reports, with the players sat together on the team bus eating and reflecting “in animated fashion” on the defeat.
Going into somewhat amusing detail, Gil adds that Mascherano “gesticulated remarkably, even recreating tactical situations with bottles of water” with Andres Iniesta and Sergio Busquets joining the trio.
Perhaps what is more intriguing is that Gil reports “Neymar was isolated this time from the rest of players, very affected by his expulsion, in a painful return journey”.
The report serves to suggest that Barcelona’s stars will be desperate to right the wrongs from the Malaga loss in their Champions League quarter-final against Juventus with the first leg in Turin on Tuesday evening.
Certainly, a second defeat inside three days would not go down at all well around Messi, Suarez and Mascharano’s table.