Raphinha scored the only goal of the game as Barcelona beat Real Madrid 1-0 in the first Clasico of the season in Las Vegas. The Brazilian signed from Leeds this month put Barca ahead in the 27th minute of the Soccer Champions Tour friendly. Firing into the top corner after Eder Militao gave the ball away. As reported by ESPN.
Substitute Marco Asensio missed Madrid’s best chance, shooting wide. Thibaut Courtois made a string of late saves as Barcelona dominated in front of a crowd of 61,299 fans.
Robert Lewandowski started his first game for the club alongside fellow summer signings Raphinha and Andreas Christensen. Madrid were without Karim Benzema who only joined preseason training this week so Eden Hazard started in attack. There were also starting spots for new arrivals Antonio Rudiger and Aurelien Tchouameni.
“Benzema is the best player in the world,” head coach Carlo Ancelotti told Real Madrid TV after the match. “Of course when he isn’t there we miss something.”
Lewandowski got the first sight of goal in the 11th minute when his fierce effort was saved by Courtois at the near post.
Madrid responded through Fede Valverde. He hits the post from a distance before Ansu Fati shot wide after Eduardo Camavinga lost the ball.
Rudiger began the match at left-back, with David Alaba playing in central defense. The German got forward after 26 minutes, cutting inside and shooting across the goal before Raphinha opened the scoring moments later at the other end.
Militao, harried by Barca’s high press, attempted a risky pass across the penalty area. Raphinha took advantage, taking a touch before shooting left-footed past, Thibaut Courtois. It was his second goal of the preseason.
Lewandowski had a close-range effort blocked by Alaba. Jordi Alba was booked for bringing down Vinicius Junior on the break before half-time.
Barca coach Xavi Hernandez made five changes at the break. Xavi introduced Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang for Lewandowski. Carlo Ancelotti brought on six new players including a new-look midfield of Casemiro, Luka Modric, and Toni Kroos.
Asensio spurned an excellent opportunity to level in the 58th minute. He shoots off target after exchanging passes with Lucas Vazquez.
Another substitute, Franck Kessie, was denied by Courtois. Barcelona were unfortunate not to be awarded a penalty after Alvaro Odriozola handled inside the box.
Courtois was called into action again to save Ousmane Dembele and Sergino Dest. Mariano Diaz headed wide, in a hectic final few minutes.
“In the second half we controlled the ball better,” Ancelotti said. “In the first half we defended well, with a low block, but we lacked a bit of quality. We saw that in the second half.”
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