Real Madrid 0-1 Barcelona. Here is the immediate reaction to the first pre-season game. Up next: player ratings and a ManagingMadrid Las Vegas podcast.
El Clásico was deemed a suitable choice for the very first pre-season outing for Real Madrid, in Las Vegas, Nevada. Fans flocked to the Allegiant stadium in huge numbers, and would not have been disappointed by either line-up. Barcelona fielded Robert Lewandowski amongst a whole host of senior players. For Madrid, new players Antonio Rüdiger and Aurélien Tchouaméni started - whilst Eden Hazard was deployed as a centre-forward. The rest of the line-up can be found below. Lucas Vázquez captained the team for this one.
The first half could easily be split into two segments. I was impressed with the intensity and some of the quality on show during the opening 25 minutes or so - with Rodyrgo Goes and Eduardo Camavinga looking particularly sharp whenever the ball came their way. Madrid matched Barcelona and created a number of chances - but the first shot still fell to the Catalans. Robert Lewandowski pulled away but could not beat Thibaut Courtois from a tight angle. Fede Valverde then clattered the post with a very powerful effort from distance moments later. Ansu Fati then should have scored on the back of a Camavinga blunder inside the area. Barcelona did take the lead when Raphinha arrowed a strike into the top corner past Courtois - and from this moment the extra sharpness of a team who is three games in to their pre-season campaign took over. The second part of the half saw Barcelona really take the game to Madrid. Antonio Rüdiger, seemingly being used at left-back hit a shot wide at one point - and then Valverde spooned a half-chance wide with the outside of his boot. Madrid managed to make it to half-time just the one goal down, and the team was sure to look very different after the break. Courtois made a world class save to deny Franck Kessié from doubling the lead
Tchouameni in a Real Madrid shirt for the first time. ⚪️ pic.twitter.com/InKRuWtiif— Madrid Xtra (@MadridXtra) July 24, 2022
Madrid made six changes at half-time, with many of the usual big names entering the field. Barcelona made five changes themselves. It was one of their substitutes, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, that had the first chance of the half when he connected to a cross but the ball went wide. Real Madrid did turn up the tempo at times, and Marco Asensio should have equalised after a good passage of play resulted in the ball being squared to him in-front of goal. Barcelona then had a penalty shout and the ball clearly struck the hand of Álvaro Odriozola, but the referee luckily didn’t catch it. Courtois again showed why he is the world’s best goalkeeper when he denied Ousmane Dembélé during a one against one situation. He then made an even better save to deny the Frenchman after an opposition counter-attack. Mariano Díaz headed a chance wide late on after some good play, but Madrid did well to keep the game at 0-1 in all truths. Full time, and defeat in Las Vegas. Ensure you catch the post game content from the rest of the ManagingMadrid team. From me, goodnight!