Neymar should not be banned for Clasico, says Mascherano

The three dropped points mean Barcelona are now as many points behind Real in the title race, with Los Blancos having one game in hand, and only seven game rounds remaining.

Ten-man Barcelona have suffered a shock 2-0 defeat to Malaga at La Rosaleda to miss out on their big chance of making up ground on league leaders Real Madrid.

Six minutes after the confusing booking, former Barca player Sandro Ramirez finished a brilliant counter attack with a clean finish and gave Malaga an early lead.

Barcelona are now three points off Real Madrid having played a game more than their rivals, meaning a win at the Bernabeu is likely to be essential if they are to retain the title.

Antoine Griezmann struck an 85th-minute equaliser to earn Atletico Madrid a 1-1 draw at city rivals Real Madrid at the Bernabeu.

The Catalans are only two points behind Los Blancos, who have played an extra game, so they can not afford any slip-ups against Malaga.

Neymar was booked in the first half for tying his laces in front of a Malaga player trying to take a free kick and received his marching orders for a late tackle on Diego Llorente in the 65th minute.

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In addition, Adalberto Penaranda had a perfectly legitimate goal ruled out for offside in the 72nd minute, with the linesman incorrectly raising his flag after the Colombian had latched onto a perfectly-timed through-ball to score.

With Real Madrid leading the way in La Liga but only by two points, the impetus was there for Luis Enrique's men to seize control and pull ahead with a win.

Malaga also had the better chances of the second-half filled with controversy as Juanpi shot straight at Ter Stegen when clean through.

On Neymar's dismissal, Barca coach Luis Enrique said: "I think the interpretation of yellow cards is special".

Recio nearly gave the hosts the lead after taking a poor pass from opposing keeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen but shot wide from distance with the German fortunate not to be punished for his sloppy play.

Real Madrid is still leading La Liga with 72 points, followed by Barcelona with 69 points. "But a Malaga fan from Madrid has given them a hand".

Luis Suarez did the same thing to miss their first clash against Malaga back in November and, without the Uruguayan, Barca failed to find the net in a 0-0 draw.


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