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Malcom steps in, rescues Barca

BARCELONA: Winger Malcom’s second half strike secured Barcelona a 1-1 draw with Real Madrid to leave the Copa del Rey semifinal evenly poised after the first leg.

Brazilian Malcom, who started in place of Lionel Messi, curled home in the 58th minute to pull Barcelona level after Lucas Vazquez had fired Real Madrid ahead early on. Vazquez struck after just six minutes to silence the Nou Camp at the end of a slick team move, with Santiago Solari’s side impressing in the opening stages.

 

However, Ivan Rakitic clipped the crossbar with a header as Barcelona fought for an equaliser and Malcom eventually found it when Luis Suarez’s shot rebounded to him off the post.

Messi, who suffered a thigh injury at the weekend against Valencia, appeared for the final half hour but could not help champions Barca find a late winner. “The draw was fair,” said Barca midfielder Sergio Busquets.