Barcelona overcame Real Madrid 1-0 in their Las Vegas Clasico on Saturday as Raphinha scored his second goal in as many games.
Raphinha scored the only goal of the high-profile match at Allegiant Stadium, the $1.97 billion, 65,000-seat home of the NFL’s Las Vegas Raiders. Raphinha was acquired from Premier League Leeds United earlier this month for approximately $60 million. He made his debut in a 6-0 thrashing of Inter Miami.
A careless ball from Real’s Eder Militao along the top of the area was intercepted by the Brazilian, who was in the ideal position. He took a moment to compose himself before slamming a left-footed shot into the top right corner of the goal, giving Barcelona a 1-0 lead in the 27th minute.
The second Clasico ever hosted in the United States showcased all the ferocity of the long-running rivalry in its fourth game played outside of Spain.
Real Madrid, playing in their first preseason friendly, came close to scoring in the 18th minute, but Federico Valverde’s volley from 25 yards out beat Marc-Andre Ter Stegen but was stopped by the post. Valverde had seized the ball after a poor clearance by Jordi Alba.
Two minutes later, Eduardo Camavinga turned the ball over to Pedri in front of Real’s goal, giving Barcelona a chance that they let go. Pedri found Fati, who forced Real goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois to leave his position but missed the far post with his attempt.
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Overall, Barcelona was the team that dominated the tempo in the first half against the current Champions League and La Liga champions, buoyed by the arrival of Polish striker Robert Lewandowski from Bayern Munich.
After Jordi Alba tackled Militao in a sliding move that resulted in a yellow card, the first half came to a contentious conclusion.
Players had to intervene to keep Barcelona’s Ronald Araujo and newcomer Antonio Rudiger apart after some pushing and shoving got out of hand.
Lewandowski’s night came to an end without a goal when he was substituted at halftime for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang as part of a number of substitutions.
Just two minutes into the second half, Aubameyang squandered a chance to score with a header from the middle of the box from a cross from Raphinha.
Real Madrid had a great chance to score in the 59th minute following a battle between Lucas Vazquez and replacement Marco Asensio, but Asensio missed the target after Vazquez sent the ball back to him in front of goal.
In the dying seconds, Carlo Ancelotti’s team made a valiant effort to equalize, but it was evident that they were missing French sensation Karim Benzema, who was given an extended holiday by the club and missed the game after teaming up with his teammates in Los Angeles just days earlier.
Tuesday sees Real Madrid continue their US trip against Cub America of Mexico at Oracle Park in San Francisco, while Barcelona plays Juventus of Italy in Dallas the same evening.
On July 30, Real Madrid plays Juventus and Barcelona plays the New York Red Bulls of Major League Soccer.