The home side could have led 2-0 inside 20 minutes, but found themselves behind after 26 minutes when Manuel Iturra converted from close range.
Chances remained at a premium in the second period, but a header from Ignacio Camacho in the final minute made it 2-2 ahead of the second leg.
Here, Sports Mole dissects the 90 minutes of action between the two Spanish rivals.
On target: 6
On target: 5
Was the result fair?
On the balance of play, Malaga were well worth a 2-2 draw this evening. Barcelona could have been two goals ahead inside the opening 20 minutes, but fell behind against the run of play. The home side dominated possession throughout the evening, but they didn't push on as expected in the latter stages. The tie is so delicately poised ahead of the second leg.
6/10. As mentioned, Barcelona could have been 2-0 ahead inside 20 minutes, but somehow found themselves behind following sloppy play from Thiago. They rallied in impressive fashion to take a lead into the interval, but their level certainly dropped in the second period with their final pass lacking. That said, they will still feel confident of emerging from the second leg next week.
7/10. Malaga were extremely impressive this evening. There are not too many teams that could have fallen 2-1 behind to Barcelona and repelled the Catalan outfit when they were in full flow in the latter stages of the first period. They were also the side that went searching for a goal in the final moments despite being reduced to 10 men with Nacho Monreal receiving his marching orders.
Sports Mole's man of the match
Manuel Iturra: The Malaga midfielder picks up the accolade this evening not for his goal, but for his all-action display in the middle of the park. It was an old-fashioned performance from the Chilean as he defended and attacked with equal success.
Forget Thiago's mistake for Malaga's opening goal. Brazilian defender Weligton allowed Messi to dance into the penalty area for Barcelona's equaliser after dwelling on the ball inside his own box. If ever there was a time to clear into the crowd then it was at that moment.
Jose Gonzalez had a busy evening as he was called into making a number of decisions. The Spaniard was slightly picky in the opening period, but did allow the play to flow in the second half. He rightly sent Monreal from the field in the latter stages.
Barcelona: The Catalan outfit return to La Liga action away to Real Sociedad at the weekend before travelling to Malaga for the second leg next Tuesday.
Malaga: Malaga return to La Liga action at home to Celta Vigo at the weekend before welcoming Barcelona for the second leg on Tuesday.