Raphinha made it two goals in two matches as Barcelona defeated Real Madrid 1-0 on Saturday in their Las Vegas Clasico.
Raphinha, signed from Premier League Leeds United earlier this month for around $60 million, followed up his debut in a 6-0 thrashing of Inter Miami with the lone goal of the high-profile clash at Allegiant Stadium, the $1.97 billion, 65,000-seat home of the NFL’s Las Vegas Raiders.
The Brazilian was perfectly placed to intercept an ill-advised pass from Real’s Eder Militao along the top of the area. After one touch to settle he lashed a left-footed shot over Thibaut Courtois into the top right corner of the net to put Barcelona up 1-0 in the 27th minute
The fourth edition of the Clasico to be played outside of Spain — the second ever held in the United States — featured all the intensity of the long rivalry.
Real Madrid, playing their first pre-season friendly, nearly opened the scoring in the 18th minute but Federico Valverde was denied by the post in the 18th minute, seizing the ball after a poor clearance by Jordi Alba and blasting a volley from 25 yards out that beat Marc-Andre Ter Stegen only for the upright to intervene.
Two minutes later it was Barcelona who saw a chance get away when Eduardo Camavinga lost possession to Pedri in front of Real’s goal. Pedri found Fati, who pulled Real keeper Thibaut Courtois off his line but put his shot just wide of the far post.
Overall it was Barcelona — energized by the debut of Polish striker Robert Lewandowski after his move from Bayern Munich — who controlled the tempo in the first half against the reigning Champions League and La Liga title holders.
Some jawing and shoving escalated, with players having to step in and separate Madrid newcomer Antonio Rudiger and Barcelona’s Ronald Araujo.
Lewandowski’s night ended without a goal as he was departed at the half, replaced by Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang as part of a raft of changes at the midpoint.