A trip to the Camp Nou is difficult even at the best of times. So with Malaga five points adrift of safety at the bottom of the table, they needed luck to be on their side. However, this deserted them as early as the second minute on Saturday night as Gerard Deulofeu converted Lucas Digne's cross after the ball clearly had gone out of play.
Stand-in rookie keeper Andrés Prieto stopped playing as the winger backheeled home, convinced, like his teammates, that the referee would stop play. The complaints fell on deaf ears, however, and the visitors had an uphill climb from the outset.
This didn't seem to deflate Míchel's side as many would have expected, though. Instead, they maintained their shape and could even have grabbed an equaliser had Chory Castro got more purchase on his glancing header at the near post.
Despite Barça enjoying the majority of the possession, Malaga again created a clear chance - Chory again failing to make appropriate contact to convert the cross.
The hosts, who barely got out of third gear in the first half, powered into the second and Lionel Messi brought a fine save out of Prieto, low to his left from a tight angle within minutes of the restart.
Prieto, however, could do nothing to prevent the second goal of the game. A neat give-and-go between Messi and Andrés Iniesta resulted in the latter clipping the ball off the unfortunate Roberto Rosales' leg and into the roof of the net.
Luis Suárez, who has been struggling for form of late, then had two chances to bury the tie but squandered them both, later being replaced by Paco Alcácer.
Despite the deficit, Malaga continued to press forward and threatened the Barcelona goal with volleys from Keko and Juanpi; the former's striking Digne in the face, and the latter's skidding off the surface into the grasp of Ter Stegen.
Luis Hernández, who was immense at the back, also saw his header drift just wide of the German's left goalpost.
Prieto was called into action again in the closing ten minutes, plunging low to turn Paulinho's effort wide of the left post while Juanpi brought acrobatics out of Ter Stegen in stoppage time with his header.
Despite showing a great deal of character on the day, Malaga's barren run away from home continues.
The Blue and Whites remain rooted to the foot of the table,