Barça beaten by AC Milan while Bale stunner helps Madrid defeat Juventus
By Dave Redshaw Barcelona 0 AC Milan 1 A dramatic Andre Silva goal with virtually the last kick of the game earned AC Milan a 1-0 win over an unfamiliar Barcelona side in the International Champions Cup. The Catalans were without Lionel Messi, Sergio Busquets, Luis Suárez, Ivan Rakitic, Gerard Piqué, Jordi Alba, Philippe Coutinho, Ousmane Dembele and Samuel Umtiti for the clash at the Levi Stadium in Santa Clara. The majority of the Barca firstteam were granted an additional period of time off following their World Cup exertions, while new signing Arturo Vidal was still to link up with the squad.
Boss Ernesto Valverde chose to start recent Brazilian signings Malcom and Arthur against the Rossoneri and Barca threatened inside the opening 60 seconds, Paco Alcácer forcing goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma to make a smart save down to his right. Defender Alessio Romagnoli then needed to be alert to intercept an exchange of passes between Arthur and Malcom, while Milan’s first opportunity fell to Fabio Borini, who saw his attempt from inside the area blocked by Marlon, with the Italian players claiming the young centre-back had handled the ball.
Nonetheless, it was Barca who continued to create most of the chances, with Malcom just failing to get on the end of a probing ball from Rafinha on 20 minutes. Milan left-back Ricardo Rodríguez had to make a timely intervention on the halfhour mark to prevent Nelson Semedo getting a shot away from a tight angle, before Arthur unleashed a tremendous drive from outside the box which Donnarumma did well to keep out. Barca continued to dominate for the rest of the opening period, Malcom hitting a post and Munir El Haddadi sending an effort narrowly wide as the half-time whistle approached, with Donnarumma beaten on both occasions.
Both teams made several changes at the break and MarcAndre ter Stegen, on for Jasper Cillessen in the Barca goal, had to be on his toes to deny Hakan Calhanoglu in the 47th minute. The Spanish champions then had a penalty appeal turned down for an apparent stamp by Rodríguez on Rafinha and Silva wasted a good chance for the Serie A giants by firing into the side-netting after good work from Calhanoglu 20 minutes from time. Midfielder Ricard Puig should have won it in the 90th minute for Barca, the 18year-old substitute dragging his shot wide after being found by Semedo’s cutback.
Instead, it was Milan who snatched an undeserved victory deep into stoppage time, Calhanoglu and Kessie combining to create an opening for Silva on the break, and the former Porto striker made no mistake from close range to beat Ter Stegen at the near post as the game appeared destined for a penalty shoot-out. It was harsh on Barca, who will welcome back some of their more established stars when they take on Sevilla in the Spanish Super Cup in Tangiers on Sunday.
Vidal: Barça a huge step New Barcelona signing Arturo Vidal says joining the club is ‘a huge step forward’ from playing for Bayern Munich. The Chilean midfielder, 31, has arrived at the Camp Nou in a €20m deal from the German champions, becoming Barca’s fourth signing of the transfer window.
“Joining Barcelona means taking a huge step forward from playing for Bayern,” Vidal told reporters. “They are the biggest club in the world and have the best team in the world. I’ll try to improve things by helping them to trophies and do my best to fulfil all their expectations. I have a three-year contract and I want to win three league titles.”
Real Madrid 3 Juventus 1 A stunning Gareth Bale strike helped Real Madrid fight back to beat Juventus 3-1 in an International Champions Cup friendly in Maryland, USA, which did not feature Cristiano Ronaldo against his former club. Madrid boss Julen Lopetegui started with a 4-3-3 formation and gave a start to returning internationals Isco, Nacho, Keylor Navas, Dani Carvajal and Toni Kroos. The European champions dominated possession in the opening exchanges, although they struggled to create any meaningful opportunities, but it was the Italians who took the lead on 12 minutes with Carvajal sliding the ball into his own net after Joao Cancelo had driven a cross into the box.
Young left-back Sergio Reguilón then produced a lungbursting run down the flank to test Juve stopper Wojciech Szczesny with a shot, but it was Ronaldo’s heir apparent Bale who took matters into his own hands. The Welshman picked up the ball on edge of the area after 38 minutes and crashed a thumping half-volley into the top corner to level matters.
Lopetegui made five changes at half-time and substitute Marco Asensio put Madrid in front two minutes into the second half, new signing Vinicius Junior getting in on the act as he squared the ball for the Spain international to tap in from close range. Less than 10 minutes later Asensio doubled his tally, Dani Ceballos spraying a pass out to Lucas Vázquez, whose cross found Asensio for a toe-poke finish which Szczesny should have done better with as the ball squirmed under him.
The result comes after a 2-1 defeat to Manchester United as Madrid get ready to take on cross-city rivals Atlético Madrid in the European Super Cup on August 15, before getting their La Liga campaign underway against Getafe four days later. Kroos: Madrid replacing
Ronaldo tough Real Madrid midfielder Toni Kroos has admitted the club will find it ‘really tough’ to replace Cristiano Ronaldo next season. The Portuguese star netted 450 goals in 438 matches for Los Blancos before joining Juventus for a reported €100m deal earlier in the summer.
“When you lose 50 goals over a season it is really tough to replace,” the Germany international told reporters. “Cristiano was hugely important for us over the years and he has been decisive in all our successes, but I have no doubt we will be very hard to beat again.”
Real Madrid players congratulate midfielder Marco Asensio after scoring a goal against Juventus