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31.10.2008 10:32

La Rosaleda not a happy hunting ground

David Puig

Málaga has never been an easy destination for Barça. The club has traditionally struggled at La Rosaleda and this Saturday’s task will not be a simple one for Guardiola and his team.

FC Barcelona have always found it difficult to pick up points at La Rosaleda. In 27 games between Malaga and Barça at that ground, the Catalans have drawn as often as they have won, ten times, and lost seven games. One of the more modest outfits in the Spanish championship has typically made things surprisingly difficult for one of the traditional giants.

Two wins since 1999/00

web_1.jpgBetween 1999/00, when Malaga returned to the top flight and 2006/07, when they were relegated, Barça only managed a couple of wins at La Rosaleda in seven attempts. Only one of those was a comfortable victory, 4-0 in 2004/05, the goals coming from Oleguer, Giuly (2) and Gerard, while the other was a narrow 2-1 win in 1999/00, with Van Gaal on the visiting bench.

Painful loss

Overmars_03-des.JPGThat said, Barça have only lost at La Rosaleda once since the turn of the century. But that was by a shocking 5-1 scoreline in the fourteenth game of the 2003/04 season. A Salva hat-trick and two more goals from Diego Alonso and Canabal inflicted one of the most painful defeats Barça have suffered in recent years. That result saw Barça plummet to eighth in the league, a full ten points adrift of leaders Real Madrid. But the campaign ended with Rijkaard’s side turning things around with a remarkable second half of the season, eventually finishing second in the table.

No score draws

Those games may have been memorable affairs, but Malaga v Barça games at La Rosaleda do not traditionally produce a frenzy of goals, and the most common outcome has been 0-0 draws. The last game to end as it started was in 2005/06, when Barça were 13 points ahead of Real Madrid, and opted to rest a number of regular starters with their minds more on the midweek Champions League fixture with Benfica. Barça picked up a point in Andalusia as they moved closer to their famous League and Champions League double.
La Rosaleda not a happy hunting ground
Top class stadium
In the year 2000, six years of work started on restructuring La Rosaleda. It now holds 29,000 supporters, with much of the seating in the grandstands now under cover. The ground includes closed circuit television screens, private corporate boxes and a large press area, all of which are adapted to the security standards issued by the Liga de Fútbol Profesional.

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