With his name ringing in the rumors to leave Barcelona, Ousmane Dembelewith a goal in a stupendous play on the board, claimed vindication this Saturday and paved the way for the Barcelona thrashed Real Madrid 3-0 in a vibrant, intense and highly entertaining friendly played in Dallas (Texas, USA).
The Dallas Cowboys’ AT&T Stadium, with 82,026 spectators (record for a classic in the US) and a fantastic atmosphere in the stands, hosted this duel that marked Barcelona’s third win in three friendlies against Madrid on US soil ( 3-2 in 2017 in Miami and 1-0 in 2022 in Las Vegas).
Fermín López, with an impressive left foot for his first goal for Barcelona, and Ferran Torres sealed the beating already in the final stretch. Madrid left sensations of a level and managed to throw up to four shots against the crossbar, they lacked forcefulness in both areas.
Still with the echo of Xavi Hernández’s statements about the “intensity” of these friendlies, this Dallas classic, with both coaches betting on their gala elevens, had everything: from a missed penalty by Vinícius Jr. to six chances that they ended up on the wood (five of the whites) going through fights between both teams and three injured before the break: Ilkay Gündogan and Andreas Christensen in Barcelona and Ferland Mendy in Madrid.
Ballasted by his lack of aimThis was Madrid’s first loss this pre-season after beating Milan 3-2 and Manchester United 2-0 while Barcelona made their debut on this US tour having lost 5-3 to Arsenal.
Barcelona started with personality and controlled possession with a double pivot formed by Frenkie de Jong and Oriol Romeu and a lot of mobility from the four players on offense.
In the 3rd minute, Romeu left Thibaut Courtois’s crossbar trembling with a fabulous volley that reflected the solid culé start.
The whites, pressing high up, tried to exploit the spaces with the speed of Rodrygo and Vinícius Jr.
However, Barcelona opened the scoring using strategy in a side free kick. Ilkay Gundogan threatened to cross but served it flat to the front for Pedri, who perfectly found a Dembélé who had slipped between the rival lines to unleash a dry and hard shot that ended up in the net.
Madrid was about to equalize the score just after thanks to a penalty by hand of Ronald Araújobut Vinícius Jr. sent his maximum penalty to the crossbar.
The Brazilian would hit the crossbar again before the break -and Jude Bellingham He also hit the stick next – in another of the abundant occasions of a very showy first half.
In Barcelona, Dembélé, a dagger down the right wing against an overflowing MendyHe touched the second but his center wandered through the small area without finding a finisher.
Little by little Madrid grew and from 30 he had several opportunities, especially in the boots of a Rodrygo who ran into a wall called Ter Stegen.
First he released a missile from a direct free kick that the goalkeeper took out perfectly with a changed hand and, already in discount, he finished off from point-blank range but the German showed off his reflexes to avoid the goal.
Barcelona could also have gone to the locker room with a larger income but Dembélé, after a serious error by the Merengue defense, failed to overcome a huge Courtois in one-on-one.
The first part was lived with passion and several frictions between the players, some ugly and out of place tackle and a brawl in the last stretch of the half for a game that did not seem friendly at all.
Even so, the worst thing at the break was the large number of casualties since Gündogan and Christensen in Barcelona and Mendy in Madrid withdrew before the interval due to physical discomfort.
A Madrid without aim
It was difficult for the pace to be maintained at the restart and the game slowed down. Barcelona came out better, putting on anesthetist mode and trying to stop the rhythm of the game through possession.
Carlo Ancelotti opted for old rockers Luka Modric and Toni Kroos to reactivate a fairly thick Real Madrid midfield. Madrid gained presence, which again hit the crossbar with a Huge shot by Aurélien Tchouaméni -cockfight- and that brushed on three times the tie in the boots of Vinícius Jr.
The Brazilian slipped at the most inopportune moment when he was going to shoot from the penalty spot; after a great individual play he was about to score a great goal but his shot missed by centimeters; and, in the final stretch, he crashed into the crossbar again.
Madrid ended up paying dearly for the lack of aim and Barcelona closed their victory with a phenomenal left-footed shot from outside the penalty area. Fermín López -the youth squad player who is astonishing Xavi and his teammates for his level and impudence this preseason and who played last season for Linares de Primera RFEF- in 85 and with a definitive goal of Ferran Torres in 91.
Barcelona, 3: Ter Stegen; Araújo (Dest, m. 76), Koundé, Christensen (Eric Garcia, m. 28), Balde (Marcos Alonso, m. 76); Romeu (Ansu Fati, 76), De Jong (Abde, 76), Gündogan (Sergi Roberto, 42); Dembele (Raphinha, 66), Lewandowski (Ferran Torres, 76), Pedri (Fermin Lopez, 66).
Real Madrid, 0: Courtesy; Carvajal, Militao, Praise, Mendy (Fran Garcia, m. 45); Tchouameni, Valverde (Kroos, 58), Camavinga (Modric, 58), Bellingham (Joselu, 73); Rodrygo (Brahim, m. 83) and Vinicius Jr.
Goals: 1-0, m. 15: Dembélé. 2-0, m. 85: Fermín López. 3-0, m. 91: Ferran Torres.
Referee: Allen Chapman. He admonished De Jong, Koundé and Romeu at Barcelona and Tchouameni, Camavinga, Carvajal and Alaba at Real Madrid.
Incidences: Friendly match played at the AT&T Stadium in Arlington, in the Dallas metropolitan area (USA), corresponding to the Soccer Champions Tour and played in front of 82,026 spectators.
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