FC Barcelona 0-0 Rayo Vallecano:  Stalemate to start the season

FC Barcelona 0-0 Rayo Vallecano: Stalemate to start the season

The Catalans have no shortage of chances to get off to a winning start in La Liga 2022/23, but the visitors keep everything at bay and things end all square at Spotify Camp Nou

There was a mightily optimistic mood in all quarters of the Culer community in the build-up to this one. With the club’s economy looking a lot straighter, some exciting new signings added to the squad, and plenty of positives glowing out of the preseason, an excellent crowd for August of 81,104 showed up at the Spotify Camp Nou to see what the new-look FC Barcelona could do in their first competitive outing of the 2022/23 campaign.

Unfortunately, they’d be going home disappointed after their side were unable to break the deadlock against a very solid Rayo Vallecano who have now gone for three games without defeat, or even conceding a goal, against the Catalans.


Frustrating evening

Barça had looked very much the better team throughout. But despite dominating the possession and practically all of the football being played inside the opposition’s half, they just could not find the way to turn their comfortable control of the game into goals.

Chances there were aplenty. But they just would not end up in the net. And the two times they did, first for Robert Lewandowski in the first half and then for fellow debutant Franck Kessie in the second, the flag was up for offside.

Another player making his first competitive appearance for Barça, Raphinha, was perhaps the most active player in the first half, but the Brazilian couldn’t quite find that magic final touch.

Rayo threaten

Ousmane Dembélé and Pedri also came close in the first 45 minutes, although the best chance actually fell to Rayo. Álvaro García, the man who scored the winner in this fixture last season, was brilliantly blocked by Ter Stegen in the German stopper’s only major intervention of the half.

The Barça defence was again seriously troubled just after the restart. Sergio Camello probably should have done better and it was another let-off for the Catalans.

We needed a little more urgency from Barça, and we got it. Substitute Ansu Fati slapped in a fine strike from long range and Sergio Busquets fired from even further out, but both efforts were solidly covered by Stole Dimitrievski in the Rayo goal.

Busquets off

The chances started flowing thicker and faster, but time was running out. There was always the feeling that with the players Barça had on the park that, albeit later than expected, the flash of inspiration was going to come.

Lewandowski looked to have it, but his great chance drizzled wide. So did Aubameyang, but his was cleared off the line.

Barça’s late surge was tempered when Busquets was somewhat harshly sent off for a second bookable offence. Suddenly sensing a third consecutive win over Barça might be on the cards, it was suddenly Rayo who were on the front foot for the final minutes, and Radamel Falcao thought he’d nabbed them a late winner, but he’d done so from an offside position. 

Although there were plenty of positives to be taken out of this game, it sadly did not produce either goals or three points. But this is just the start of a very long season, which continues at the home of Real Sociedad on Sunday, kick off 10pm CEST...

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