This was the moment Malcom had waited so long for.
Apart from this month’s Copa del Rey clash against minnows Cultural Leonesa, the summer signing from Bordeaux had last featured for Barcelona in September.
Within two minutes of coming off the bench at Inter Milan in the Champions League, his powerful skimmed shot broke the deadlock. The 21-year-old’s opening Barca goal would not be enough to gain all three points in Group B, however, thanks to Argentina striker Mauro Icardi’s predatory leveller from close range – this was the host’s only attempt on target.
Here, we analyse the performance of the forgotten Brazilian winger:
Goals – 1
Assists – 0
Shots – 1
Shots on target – 1
Touches – 11
Passes – 7
Key passes – 0
Dribbles – 0
Dispossessed – 0
Malcom would have travelled to Milan in hope, rather than expectation.
When the clock ticked towards the 90-minute mark, he must have wondered whether another fixture was about to pass him by.
But Barca needed a goal and Valverde turned to his underused signing on 81 minutes. Moments later, the ball was in the back of the net and an emotional Malcom appeared to be crying in celebration.
Take your chance – In a squad blessed with attacking depth, chances don’t come around too often – as Malcom knows only too well.
But everyone at Barca must have been impressed by the way he controlled a cross, beat his marker and unflinchingly converted.
81st min SUBSTITUTED ON: Malcom’s number comes up and France winger Ousmane Dembele comes off.
83rd min GOAL: The ball is fed to Malcom by ex-Inter youngster Philippe Coutinho, a neat piece of skill sees left-back Kwadwo Asamoah’s tackle evaded and a low shot is struck with such venom – on a wet pitch – that the blindsided goalkeeper, Samir Handanovic, cannot react.
Malcom needed a chance to impress – and he grabbed this one with both hands.
An excellent feint earned space and his powerful shot skipped past Handanovic.
Whether it is enough to impress Valverde, we’ll find out in the weeks ahead.
All statistics are compiled using whoscored.com
Manchester United face Juventus looking to kick-start their Champions League campaign on Wednesday evening.
Ahead of the eagerly-anticipated Group H encounter in Turin, Press Association Sport takes a look at the Italian giants.
The Bianconeri have lifted the European Cup on two occasions, but those triumphs in 1985 and 1996 have been followed by frustration. Juventus have lost a record seven finals in the competition, including their last five attempts at getting over the last hurdle.
Massimiliano Allegri’s side were most recently frustrated in 2017 as Cardiff bore witness to a 4-1 loss to Real Madrid – the same side that knocked them out at the quarter-final stage last term. Barcelona were the scourge of Juve in 2015 as they failed to add to their continental crowns, which also include three UEFA Cups, the 1984 Cup Winners’ Cup and a pair of UEFA Super Cups.
Juventus are top of Group H and Serie A after a record-breaking start to the campaign. Allegri’s side won their first 10 matches in all competitions to beat the previous best of eight set in 1930, putting them in the box seat for an eighth-successive league crown.
That run ended with a 1-1 home draw against Genoa on October 20, but since then Juventus have won three-straight matches in all competitions – a run that includes the 1-0 win at Old Trafford a fortnight ago. Allegri’s side have yet to so much as concede in Group H and will progress to the last 16 if they avoid a defeat on Wednesday.
The appointment of Allegri was not universally popular, but the Italian has confounded the doubters and proved himself to be one of the finest managerial minds around. An inconspicuous playing career as an attacking midfielder with the likes of Livorno, Pescara and Napoli has been followed by an impressive time as a coach.
Allegri’s first managerial role came at fourth-tier Aglianese, before spells at SPAL, Grosseto, Sassuolo and Cagliari. Despite getting the chop at the latter, Allegri did enough to be handed the reins at AC Milan and won Serie A in his first season, only to be fired in 2014 with the San Siro side in 11th spot. That same year he took over at Juventus, where he has won the league and cup double in each of his four seasons to date. Allegri also led Juventus to the Champions League finals in 2015 and 2017.
Ones to watch
There are plenty of players to choose from, but only one that will hog the limelight – just as he did at Old Trafford in the first fixture between these sides. Cristiano Ronaldo’s name is still revered by the Manchester United faithful, such was his impact during his stint in the north west.
The 33-year-old enjoyed a medal-laden stint at the club between 2003 and 2009, winning the Champions League and three Premier League titles among other trophies. Ronaldo got a hero’s welcome at Old Trafford, but off-field issues continue as there remains a rape allegation that he denies.
Romelu Lukaku will be missing as Manchester United take on Juventus in the Champions League on Wednesday.
The 25-year-old pulled up in training ahead of Saturday’s win at Bournemouth and is absent for the Group H encounter in Turin.
Diogo Dalot is out and Marcos Rojo has reportedly not travelled, but Marouane Fellaini and Antonio Valencia are back in contention having travelled to Turin.
Provisional squad: De Gea, Romero, Grant, Valencia, Young, Darmian, Shaw, Smalling, Bailly, Lindelof, Jones, Fellaini, Herrera, Lingard, Matic, McTominay, Pogba, Mata, Pereira, Fred, Martial, Rashford, Sanchez.