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LAS VEGAS, Nevada — A lone goal by Raphinha in the 27th minute was enough to hand FC Barcelona a 1-0 victory over Real Madrid on Saturday night in front of a sell out crowd of 61,299 fans at Allegiant Stadium.
New signing Robert Lewandowski started, made his FC Barcelona debut, and played the first 45 minutes. The Polish striker provided Barça’s first scoring chance of the game but was thwarted in front by Thibaut Courtois.
Possession was near 50/50 throughout, with both sides surpassing 500 total passes for the game. The Catalans outshot Los Blancos 9-7 on the night. All seven Real Madrid shots were off target, though Fede Valverde did hit the woodwork in the 18th in what amounted to the best chance of the game for Los Merengues.
Barça took a 1-0 lead in the 27th, when Raphinha pounced on a loose ball at the edge of the Real Madrid penalty area and fired a precision strike out of the reach of Courtois and into the upper right corner. It was the 25-year-old Brazilian’s second goal in as many games.
A scuffle broke out just before halftime — after Jordi Alba cut down a Real Madrid counterattack in the Barça half that saw him go into the book — yet another a reminder that an El Clásico friendly is anything but. Tempers flared and pushing shoving ensued before cooler heads prevailed.
Multiple waves of second half substitutions for both sides provided fresh legs and ensured the pace of the game did not dwindle. Both teams had chances in the second half but the goalkeepers were up to the task.
Sergiño Dest almost brought the house down in second half injury time, but his blast from the edge of the area was tipped over the bar.
FC Barcelona have now won their last two encounters against Real Madrid with Xavi as the manager. The first was a 4-0 La Liga win at the Bernabéu in March.
Barça’s tour now heads to Dallas, where they will take on Juventus at the Cotton Bowl before moving on to New York City for a clash with the NY Red Bulls.