Barcelona started without Lionel Messi in their Copa del Rey first leg against Real Madrid and had to come from behind to earn a 1-1 draw at the Camp Nou.
The Argentine featured in the second half but had been left out of Ernesto Valverde‘s starting XI due to the thigh knock he sustained at the weekend.
“Leo is fine,” Valverde said.
“But we prefer not to take risks in this time [of the season].
“He had some discomfort and we decided it was for the best.”
Malcom unexpectedly shone and deservedly got on the deservedly, leaving Valverde pleased.
“It was a difficult test because it’s a very special match,” he commented.
“He was connecting with his teammates very well.”
Barcelona now have to score at least once at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu, which should make for an open return leg.
“We have to score, it’s simple,” Valverde stated.
“The tie is open.”