Barcelona’s Robert Lewandowski tries to score on his debut
against Rayo Vallecano
Barcelona’s Robert Lewandowski tries to score on his debut against Rayo Vallecano

Stalemate for Barca against Vallecano

Barcelona dominated the match with almost 70% of possession and 18 goal attempts to two for Rayo.

BARCELONA: Robert Lewandowski’s Barcelona debut ended in a disappointing 0-0 home draw with Rayo Vallecano at Camp Nou in its first La Liga game of the season on Saturday.

It was a frustrating night for Barca whose fans showed up at an almost sold-out stadium to see their new team headlined by Poland striker Lewandowski, the twice FIFA Best Player of the Year winner, and Brazil winger Raphinha.

Barcelona dominated the match with almost 70% of possession and 18 goal attempts to two for Rayo.

But the two best chances fell to the visitor, Alvaro Garcia thwarted by a brilliant save by Marc Andre ter Stegen and Sergio Camello shooting wide.

Rayo’s five-man defence did a superb job in shackling Lewandowski, who barely touched the ball the entire game.

Most of Barca’s chances in the first half came from wingers Raphinha and Dembele, who linked up well and gave the team an attacking threat.

Barca coach Xavi Hernandez tried to break the deadlock by sending on forwards Ansu Fati and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang from the bench, but Rayo showed real grit to hold out for the draw.

As the frustration mounted for Barca, its captain Sergio Busquets lost his cool and was sent off for an elbow to the face of Falcao Garcia in stoppage time.

Goalkeeper Stole Dimitrievski kept a clean sheet for the third consecutive time against Barcelona. “We tried as much as we could but we lacked aim and effectiveness. Maybe the pressure and expectation got a little under our skin,” Xavi said.

“It will be a process, Rayo knew how to defend deep and hold on to its strategy with an outstanding discipline. “We have to be patient and keep working. Better days will come.”

Result: Barcelona 0 drew with Rayo Vallecano 0

Lukaku scores on Inter return

Romelu Lukaku scored less than two minutes into his Serie A return to help Inter beat Lecce in dramatic fashion in the opening game of the season. Lukaku, who re-signed for Inter on a season-long loan just a year after leaving for Chelsea, headed home from close range to open the scoring. Lecce hit back three minutes after the restart through Assan Ceesay. However, Denzel Dumfries sealed all three points with a last-gasp effort from close range.

Result: Lecce 1 (Ceesay 48) lost to Inter Milan 2 (Lukaku 2, Dumfries 90+5)

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