Messi-less Barcelona cruise home in Malaga

Spanish newspaper Marca said Lionel Messi’s third child a son named Ciro was born on Saturday

Barcelona remained unbeaten in the Spanish league through all 28 rounds and increased its lead to 11 points over Atletico Madrid, which hosts Celta Vigo on Sunday.

Barcelona had no trouble handing 10-man Malaga another loss despite not counting on Lionel Messi, who missed the match to attend the birth of his third son on Saturday.

Dembele, whose first season in Spain has been ruined by injury, was the provider for Coutinho's goal approaching the half-hour mark after Suarez opened the scoring 13 minutes earlier. "I think it would be an error to think the Chelsea game is more important for us", he told reporters at his pre-match presser.

Ousmane Dembele continued to impress on his return from injury, setting up Coutinho's goal.

"Dembele's a player that needs time, he's young", said Valverde in his post-game news conference.

Messi was replaced by Yerry Mina for the game at La Rosaleda, live on Sky Sports Football, with Barcelona citing "personal reasons" for his absence. "We keep on giving him support, we like him a lot".

Despite the 15-point deficit, Valverde is not ruling Los Blancos out of contention just yet.

At the other end of the table, Levante boosted their survival hopes with a 1-0 win at Getafe, where they had substitute goalkeeper Jorge Ruiz Ojeda sent off from the bench late on.

Champions-elect Barcelona had a casual outing in which they never had to work too hard for the result, particularly with Samu's sending off, while Malaga look certain for relegation.

Ernesto Valverde's side, meanwhile, have the chance to extend their lead at the top of La Liga to 11 points with a win over Malaga.

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