Raphinha and Xavi Hernandez both saw red in a fiery La Liga opening weekend clash between Barcelona and Getafe.
The pair were two of three people shown their marching orders in during an ill-tempered 0-0 draw between Barca and Getafe, with Jaime Mata also receiving a second yellow card in the second half.
Barcelona were thoroughly frustrated by Getafe’s physical play early on and struggled to create many chances until the 25th minute when new signing Oriol Romeu came close to opening the scoring. The ex-Southampton man dropped the should to drift past one player before cannoning the ball just wide of the foot of the left post from 25-yards out
10 minutes later, Barca almost took the lead once again when Raphinha was found with a brilliant ball over the top of the Getafe defence. The Brazilian controlled the ball before firing a sweeping left-footed effort goalward and although the strike was well saved by David Soria, the ball ricocheted back off of Stefan Mitrovic and then just wide of the post.
After missing that chance, Raphinha’s night went from bad to worse when he saw a straight red for intentionally hitting Gatson Alvarez with his forearm. Seemingly incensed by the dark arts used by Alvarez while marking him on the flank throughout the first half, Raphinha’s frustration boiled over in 42nd minute when he swung his forearm at the defender while running in behind the defence.
Despite being a man down, Barca looked much more dangerous at the start of the second half due to the introduction of Ez Abde. The tricky winger caused Getafe a number of problems and even saw an audacious volleyed effort from the right of the penalty area nearly find its way into the top corner of the net.
Getafe made it ten vs ten once again in the 57th when Jaime Mata received his marching orders for a second bookable offence – a late challenge on Ronald Araujo.
Five minutes later, Barcelona would come within a whisker of taking the lead through Roberto Lewandowski. The Polish striker rose highest at the back post to meet a Jules Kounde cross, and while the header did loop over Soria in goal, Alvarez was on hand behind him to head clear before the ball crossed the line.
While goals still weren’t forthcoming by the 70th minute, the red cards continued to be dished out, with Xavi Hernandez being given his marching orders for dissent.
The introduction of Ansu Fati and 16-year-old Lamine Yamal added a bit of quality into Barca’s attacking play and, within minutes the pair coming on, they linked up to almost open the scoring. Yamal dinked a delightful ball over the top of the Getafe defence to Fati, however the 20-year-old was unable to keep his subsequent half-volleyed effort down and on target.
In the final minute of game, a lengthy VAR check looked certain to be set to end in Barcelona being given a penalty for a foul on Araujo. However, after checking the replays, Gavi was deemed to have handled the ball in the lead up to the incident.
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GK – Marc-Andre ter Stegen – 5/10 – He had basically nothing to do.
RB – Ronald Araujo – 4/10 – Lacked quality on the ball when he got forward.
CB – Jules Kounde – 5/10 – Not a lot of defensive work was needed this evening.
CB – Andreas Christensen – 5/10 – The half-time sacrifice made by Xavi due to Raphinha’s red card.
LB – Alejandro Balde – 5/10 – Not as effective in the final third as you would’ve expected him to be on Sunday evening.
CM – Frenkie de Jong – 6/10 – Slotted into defence in the second half and did well in that role.
CM – Oriol Romeu – 6/10 – Showed a bit of class in the final third on occasion and kept things ticking over in midfield.
CM – Ilkay Gundogan – 5/10 – Showed his quality on occasion, but didn’t link up with Lewandowski enough.
AM – Pedri – 4/10 – He didn’t have the desired impact on Sunday evening.
ST – Raphinha – 0/10 – Lost his head and saw red for it.
ST – Robert Lewandowski – 4/10 – Starved of service.
Abde Ezzalzouli – 6/10 – Added a bit of energy to the Barca attack when introduced.
Lamine Yamal – 5/10.
Ansu Fati – 5/10.
Gavi – N/A.
Manager – Xavi Hernandez – 4/10 – The lack of width in the Barcelona team ultimately played into Getafe’s hands on the night. Not his finest tactical hour.