Pep Guardiola’s Barca emerged victorious 2-0 in a fractious encounter against a Malaga side determined to deny them space.
Home centre-half Weligton was the root cause of much of the problems, deliberately stepping on Lionel Messi’s ankle after the ball was dead in the opening period then throwing an arm at the back of Pique’s head after the break.
Ibrahimovic should have opened the scoring on 38 minutes, shooting straight at Munua with time in the box; instead he put the ball into the back of the net on 39, finishing off a lobbed Messi through-ball. It was his fifth goal in five Liga matches since his summer move from Internazionale.
The match, interrupted throughout by free-kicks and arguments between the teams, was ended as a contest when Piquet stole in to put away a Xavi free-kick; Munua should have saved his soft volley.
Messi wasted two chances to add a third – the second of them in injury time – while Pique fired over.
A solid Malaga lacked the firepower of the visitors and their frustration boiled over when substitute Albert Luque was sent off for a late tackle on Daniel Alves.
Guardiola’s assistant Tito Vilanova was sent to the stands in the second half for complaining to the referee.