Watch: Fermin Lopez scores cracker in Barcelona’s 3-0 win over Real Madrid in pre-season
Barcelona beat Real Madrid 3-0 a pre-season friendly in Dallas, Texas. AP
Barcelona beat Real Madrid 3-0 in a tense and hotly contested pre-season friendly on Saturday with an early strike from Ousmane Dembele and late goals from Fermin Lopez and Ferran Torres.
The result provides a one-sided impression of a game where Carlo Ancelotti’s team struck the woodwork five times and created plenty of opportunities. But reigning LaLiga champions Barcelona were more clinical to provide the difference.
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A packed AT&T Stadium, home of the NFL’S Dallas Cowboys, witnessed a game which had the commitment of a real Clasico despite being a pre-season fixture.
The Barcelona faithful were soon on their feet when Oriel Romeu rattled the Real Madrid crossbar with a thundering drive in the fourth minute but Barca soon gave their supporters reason to celebrate.
A cleverly worked free-kick saw Pedri slide a diagonal pass into the path of Dembele, who drilled in the opener into the far corner.
Real had a great chance to go level just five minutes later when Barcelona defender Ronald Araujo handled in the box but Vinicius Jr. blasted the penalty against the bar.
The action was non-stop as Rodrygo then forced Barcelona keeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen into a full-length save with a free-kick that was flying headed for the top corner.
The woodwork denied Real Madrid once again when Vinicius struck the bar and although Jude Bellingham outjumped ter Stegen, the midfielder’s header hit the post as well.
At the other end, Dembele had a chance to double Barcelona’s lead after a mistake from Ferland Mendy allowed him to break through, but the French forward’s soft shot was easily dealt with by Thibuat Courtois.
Tempers flared after a sliding challenge from behind by Frenkie de Jong on Eder Militao, with players from both teams getting involved on the half-way line.
Real’s poor luck continued after the interval with Aurelien Tchouameni blasting against the bar while Vinicius continued to torment from the left, poking a shot just wide.
Barcelona substitute Fermin Lopez gave his side some breathing room with a brilliant blast from outside the box in the 85th minute after being set up by club captain Sergi Roberto.
Incredibly, Vinicius, after a run from the left, struck the bar again from a tight angle and Barca wrapped up the win in stoppage time.
Ferran Torres, ran on to a lofted ball from Lopez, lifted the ball over the advancing Courtois and showed smart awareness and balance to turn and slot the ball into the empty net.
Could have been different
Barcelona coach Xavi Hernandez admitted the scoreline flattered his team.
“The result could have been different, the result is a bit misleading, Madrid also had many chances and we shouldn’t be overconfident,” he said.
“The result is very favorable but it doesn’t mean we played a super match. There are many things to improve. It was a very even match in which Madrid also had many chances,” he said.
Xavi also questioned whether he had enough depth for the upcoming season.
“I think Madrid have a much bigger squad than us. At the end of the game they were taking players out and they have many players in the midfield, physical, technical, they have a wide range of possibilities,” he said.
“We tried to play and impose our game and in many moments we succeeded. I am satisfied with the way we competed and in many moments we looked like what we want to be,” he said.
Ancelotti played down the scoreline and was pleased by many aspects.
“The result is the least important thing. It hurts to lose, but I’ll keep the good things we did,” said Ancelotti.
“We were good in terms of intensity, we had a lot of chances that didn’t go in. Five (against the woodwork) in a game is quite rare, I don’t think it has ever happened to me. But it’s better if it happens in pre-season,” added the Italian.
(with inputs from AFP)