Philippe Coutinho: 'Ousmane Dembele is a great player'

Clyde Nash
March 12, 2018

The Blaugrana initially announced the omission of the Argentina global due to "personal reasons", but later on social media, he posted a picture confirming his wife Antonella Roccuzzo has given birth.

Citing "personal reasons", the Barcelona ace had pulled out of the squad for the game against Malaga on Saturday.

Despite their one-man advantage, though, Barca didn't add to their tally after the break and Valverde conceded that thoughts had turned to Wednesday's crucial Champions League game against Chelsea.

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The comfortable victory leaves Barca 11 points clear of Atletico Madrid, who host Celta Vigo on Sunday.

The tie is level at 1-1 after Messi netted at Stamford Bridge.

On Messi's withdrawal, Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde said: "I found out this [Saturday] morning, before leaving home, I had already been called by the delegate of the club and he had told me the circumstances surrounding Leo".

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Dembele used a quick cut back in the area to open a passing lane and slipped a ball to Coutinho, who completed the move with a skillful flick of the inside of his right boot to beat Malaga goalkeeper Roberto Jimenez. He has started 26 of Barca's 27 games, while he came off the bench against Espanyol on February 4.

That gave Suarez 21 goals, second in La Liga to Messi with 24.

Dembele's cross was turned in by Coutinho after Luis Suarez had given the hosts the lead, as the La Liga leaders remained unbeaten this term. He showed the verve and decisiveness that he lacked in prior matches with his runs and passing choices. "He played better than in other matches, but he always tries".

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Cristiano Ronaldo scored both goals for Real Madrid as Los Blancos were pushed to their limits late on by eighth-place Eibar.

Other reports by Info About Network

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