Barcelona vs. Real Madrid takeaways: Raphinha goal decides El Clasico at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas

Barcelona vs. Real Madrid takeaways: Raphinha goal decides El Clasico at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas

Published July 24, 2022
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It was a friendly in name only as Barcelona and Real Madrid met for El Clasico on Saturday night in front of a sold-out crowd at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas. A goal from Raphinha saw Barcelona take the match by a 1-0 score holding Real Madrid without a single shot on target. With both teams putting out strong sides, it was a good time for Barcelona’s new-look attack to get a test after rolling over Inter Miami. Real Madrid’s youthful midfield of Eduardo Camavinga and Aurelien Tchouameni got a good test in the first half against Barcelona’s top attackers.

It’s clear that the match meant a little more to Xavi than Carlo Ancelotti as Real Madrid rolled out a more experimental lineup that was at a disadvantage to Barcelona’s press. Eden Hazard featured as a false nine as he regains fitness after undergoing surgery to remove a plate in his leg related to a prior fibula fracture in March. Hazard hasn’t been able to make his mark since moving to Real Madrid from Chelsea. Only making 66 appearances for Real Madrid so far, Hazard has scored six goals and assisted 10 more. 

Raphinha got Barcelona’s lone goal while Real Madrid’s best chance was a hit off of the post. Xavi’s press looked to be in midseason form while Real Madrid struggled with the pace of the match as David Alaba and Antonio Rudiger spent more time marauding forward than defending. When the lights turn on for the season, things will likely revert to form so it’s too early to be concerned but it’s something to watch moving forward.

After his move from Leeds United, it’s showing why Raphinha held out for Barcelona’s interest instead of taking Chelsea up on their transfer offer. Early into his Barca career, it’s clear that the Brazillian was born to wear the shirt as he already collected his second goal for Barcelona. He did get some help from a bad cross from Eder Militao but the finish can’t be taught. Picking up on pressing cues well and always looking to do something when he gets the ball, Raphinha’s play will be key to Barcelona looking to overtake Real Madrid for the title.