Malcom prevented Barcelona from suffering defeat in the first leg of their Copa del Rey semi final against Real Madrid, scoring an equaliser to leave the tie poised at 1-1.
Lionel Messi was left out of the Barcelona starting line-up as he continues his recovery from injury, with Gareth Balealso benched by Real Madrid in favour of Lucas Vazquez and Vinicius Junior on the wings.
It took the visitors to the Camp Nou just six minutes to take the lead, with Vazquez turning home from close range after a wonderful cross by Vinicius and tremendous take down and assist from Karim Benzema.
Real Madrid’s Spanish midfielder Lucas Vazquez (L) celebrate with Real Madrid’s Spanish defender Sergio Ramos after scoring during the Spanish Copa del Rey (King’s Cup) semi-final first leg football match between FC Barcelona and Real Madrid CF at the CamGetty Images
Real Madrid had a number of chances to double their advantage in the first half, although Barcelona came close to levelling when Ivan Rakitic flicked a header on to the bar from a Malcom free kick delivery.
An equaliser did come, however, when Malcom squeezed in a finish at the near post after Luis Suarez had struck the post from a tight angle. Messi came off the bench with 25 minutes left to play, but he couldn’t find a goal to give Barca the lead to take into the return leg.
TALKING POINT – Is Lionel Messi truly fully fit?
Barcelona insisted before kick off that after an injury scare Messi would be fully fit for the Clasico. So it was therefore something of a surprise to see him on the bench from the start and then only introduced with 25 minutes left to play. Messi was eventually brought on and made an impact, but is he truly fully fit? It didn’t appear so on this basis.
Messi, Varane – Barcelona-Real Madrid – Copa del Rey 2018/2019 – Getty ImagesGetty Images
MAN OF THE MATCH – Malcom (Barcelona)
This was a breakout performance for Malcom. The Brazilian winger has struggled to find his feet since making the move to Barcelona from Bordeaux in the summer, but he was the best player on the pitch here. Certainly from Barca’s perspective, Malcom was the one player who looked likely to make something happen and so it was fitting that he was the one to net the equaliser. The 21-year-old will want to use this as a platform to build on.
6’ GOAL! Barcelona 0-1 Real Madrid: An early goal and it’s Real Madrid who have grabbed it! Vinicius curled a cross to the back post from the left wing, Benzema takes it down and then crosses for Vazquez. The winger got ahead of his man to turn the finish home from close range.
20’ Malcom is through… blows it! What an opportunity for Barcelona to restore parity, with Malcom played clean through on goal by Suarez, but Navas comes off his line to make the save!
33’ Off the crossbar! Inches away from being an equaliser for Barcelona. Malcom’s freekick found the head of Rakitic and the Croatian’s flicked effort crashes off the Real Madrid woodwork.
58’ GOAL! Barcelona 1-1 Real Madrid: It’s an equaliser! Malcom nets it. He he has been the best Barcelona player on the pitch. Lenglet played a ball over the top for Suarez, who rounded the keeper and hit the post. The ball fell to Malcom and he lashed home the finish.
Malcom, Barcelona-Real Madrid, ida de las semifinales de la Copa del ReyGetty Images
83’ What a chance for Bale! That could, and perhaps should, have been a second for Real Madrid. Ter Stegen gets caught out of his box, Benzema passes to Bale, who scuffs his effort wide with the goal gaping
Vinicius Junior attempted four shots on goal in the first half, as many as every Barcelona player combined.
Real Madrid have now scored in all of their last 15 away games against Barcelona in all competitions.
Malcom scored in his first ever Clasico appearance for Barcelona.