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Malcom scores 1st El Clasico goal for Barca in Copa del Rey

Copa Del Rey By: Ikponmwosa Umweni | 06/02/2019

Malcom's second-half equalizer ensured that the Copa del Rey semi-final meeting between Barcelona and Real Madrid remains in the balance ahead of its second leg at the Bernabeu.

The Brazilian struck after Lucas Vazquez had given Real Madrid the lead to earn a 1-1 draw at the Nou Camp in the first of three Clasico's to be played this month.

 Barcelona boss Ernesto Valverde decided against risking Lionel Messi from the start after the Argentine picked up a knock in the weekend's draw with Valencia, with Brazilian youngster Malcom given a rare start in his place.

 Gareth Bale was also left on the bench as he continues his return from injury, with Real continuing with a front three of Vinicius Jr, Karim Benzema and Vazquez.

All three combined for the opener less than six minutes in, as Vinicius floated a back post cross to Benzema, and the Frenchman squared into the path of the arriving Vazquez, who finished excellently past Marc-Andre Ter Stegen.

They might have had a second soon after, had Vinicius and Benzema not gotten in each other's way on the break, but Malcom missed a great chance to equalise, firing straight at Keylor Navas when VAR would have overturned the linesman's late offside flag.

 

Ivan Rakitic headed against the cross bar from Malcom's free-kick delivery, but Barca struggled to get Phillipe Coutinho and Luis Suarez into the game.

They improved after the interval though, and as the 92,000 inside Camp Nou chanted for Messi's introduction, his stand-in, Malcom, found an equaliser, smashing home after Suarez's curling effort had come back off the post.

 

Messi's arrival just after the hour mark gave Barcelona control of the tempo for the first time on the night, but it was still Madrid who missed the best late chance as substitute Bale fluffed his lines when teed up by Benzema.
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