Dembele and Kane starred in the Barcelona-Juventus match… and Xavi praises his striker
Real Madrid is still looking for its first victory in its training camp on American soil
Thursday – 29 Dhu al-Hijjah 1443 AH – 28 July 2022 AD Issue No. [
Dembele, the owner of the Barcelona double (left), shoots towards Juventus (AP)
San Francisco: «Middle East»
Barcelona and Juventus of Italy drew 2-2 in Dallas, as well as rivals Real Madrid with Mexican Club America 2-2 in San Francisco in the friendly matches of European teams in the American lands in preparation for the new football season.
At the “Coton Bowl”, Frenchman Ousmane Dembele put Barcelona in the lead after 34 minutes by pasting Colombian Juan Cuadrado and Brazilian Alex Sandro before scoring against Polish goalkeeper Wojciech Chesny.
Juventus’ response came after 5 minutes, when Cuadrado made up for his mistake in Barcelona’s opening goal by passing a cross that reached Moise Kean, who put it in the net of German goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen.
But the Colombian made a mistake again and allowed Dembele to bring Barcelona back to the front when he failed in his defensive intervention against the French player who overtook Manuel Locatelli and sent the ball into the Italian net in the 40th minute.
Barcelona coach Xavi made wholesale adjustments during the two-half break, including Dembele, who left his place for Brazilian newcomer Rafinha. The latter was close to consolidating the Catalan team’s progress with a long shot, but substitute goalkeeper Mattia Perin brilliantly saved his team and denied the former Leeds United player reaching his net.
Despite Barcelona’s clear advantage at the beginning of the second half, Juventus, who was absent from their new player – old French Paul Pogba due to injury, managed to equalize after Kane followed the ball into the net after a double game between Swiss Denis Zakaria and Locatelli in the 52nd minute.
Barcelona was close to regaining its lead, but luck turned it off after the ball rebounded from the crossbar after a free kick by Rafinha, and then the ball reached Ansu Fati, who fired an arc from the outskirts of the area to bounce this time off the post in the 68th minute.
After that, neither team failed to threaten the other’s goal, amid a lackluster appearance for the newcomer to Barcelona, the Polish striker Robert Lewandowski, who was replaced by Xavi in the middle of the second half.
After the meeting, Xavi praised his winger Dembele and said, “He is born again,” and added, “He showed his true capabilities. He’s a different player with exceptional skills. There are not many players like him. He helps us a lot with the way he plays. There are not many players who can make a difference in the world of football, but Dembele has it. I didn’t know Dembele before November and I’m very happy for him.”
For his part, the Brazilian Rafinha thanked Argentine Marcelo Bielsa, his former coach at Leeds United, stressing that he was credited with his development to join the national team for the first time, in addition to completing his transfer to Barcelona.
Rafinha, 25, scored a distinguished career with Leeds in the 2021-2022 season, which contributed to his joining the Brazilian national team for the first time before completing his transfer to Barcelona at the beginning of July. “He is the coach who helped me a lot from the first moment I arrived in Leeds, he always asks for more, always asks for maximum performance, he helped me join the national team and helped me reach Barcelona,” Rafinha told the Spanish newspaper Mundo Deportivo yesterday. “Maybe I wouldn’t have been able to get there if it wasn’t for his education at the group level or the individual level,” he added.
Rafinha scored a great start with his new team, Barcelona, and scored the winning goal against Real Madrid.
Barcelona, which begins the Spanish League at its home against Rayo Vallecano on August 13, began its American tour, which concludes on Saturday against New York Red Bulls, by defeating Inter Miami with a clean six and then beating local rivals Real Madrid 1-0, the Spanish League and League champions. The European champions, who are still looking for their first victory in this preparatory round, after a 2-2 draw at “Oracle Park” in San Francisco with Mexican Club America 2-2.
Real Madrid, led by Italian coach Carlo Ancelotti, was on his way to settle the match, before his former Spanish player Alvaro Fidalgo denied him a penalty kick in the 82nd minute of the match, which the Royal Club started poorly after receiving a goal in the 5th minute, following Henry Martin’s shot from Miguel Leon.
But the European champions responded quickly through their top scorer, French Karim Benzema, who penetrated into the penalty area and exchanged the ball with Marco Asensio before he shot it past goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa.
Ancelotti made seven substitutions during the two-half break, including Benzema, who left his place for Belgian Eden Hazard, and the latter quickly left his mark with a penalty kick that Lucas Vasques grabbed from Salvaldor Reyes in the 55th minute.
And it seemed that Hazard’s goal would be enough to give Real the victory before his last meeting in this round Saturday at the “Rose Bowl” in Pasadena (California) with Juventus, who opened his journey by beating Mexican Chivas 2-0, but Fidalgo, the 25-year-old who played in the teams Omariya for the Royal Club between 2012 and 2016 and the reserve team from 2016 to 2020 with a single appearance in the first team colors on December 6, 2018 in the cup competition, he said his word when he extracted a penalty kick from the Brazilian Vinicius Junior and translated it himself.
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