Barcelona kicked off the 2022-23 season with a disappointing 0-0 draw at home to Rayo Vallecano in the opening fixture of the The league country. The Blaugrana were the best team in the game and created several great chances but just couldn’t find the back of the net all night and had to settle for a point against a really good Rayo side who led an excellent fight.
Barca had a slow start to the game thanks in large part to Rayo, who came to Camp Nou with a solid game plan and frustrated the Blaugrana attacks with intense and physical pressing all over the pitch. The referee allowed the visitors to kick the hell out of Barca players throughout the half, so Rayo managed to consistently stop the Blaugranaand never let the home team get into a rhythm.
Over time, however, Barca’s superiority started to show and they started opening up spaces inside Rayo’s defence. Pedri used his skills to win individual duels and find his teammates in dangerous positions, and the attacking trio of Ousmane Dembélé, Raphinha and Robert Lewandowski became increasingly involved as Barca began to create chances dangerous.
The Catalans went close in moments but never found the back of the net, and Rayo showed they were still in it when Álvaro García embarked on a solo counter-attacking adventure and almost scored a great goal, but Marc-Andre ter Stegen made a brilliant save.
At half-time, a stalwart and stubborn Rayo side proved their worth and went 45 minutes without conceding, and Barca had to increase their intensity in the second half to find the winning goals on the opening night.
The second half started with a big chance for Rayo missed by Camello, but it was the visitors’ only dangerous attack in the final period. The rest of the half was dominated by Barca, who amped up the intensity and started to really bother the visitors with consistent crosses and shots.
Goalkeeper Stole Dimitrevski made some huge saves, but Rayo’s every defensive move grew increasingly desperate and ultimate as the Blaugrana increased their momentum. As we reached the final 10 minutes, however, there were still no goals and desperation began to set in for the home side.
Lewandowski came close to scoring a brilliant winner and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang almost found the net with his first touch off the bench, but Rayo continued to survive in the dying moments. Franck Kessie even found the back of the net in the 88th minute, but the goal was correctly ruled out for offside.
Even with eight minutes of stoppage time there was no way past the Rayo defence, and after Sergio Busquets was sent off for a second yellow in the 93rd minute and Falcao had a 95th minute winner for Rayo disallowed for offside, Barca were actually relieved when the final whistle came to give each side a point in a goalless draw.
It’s definitely not the best way to start the season and there will be huge overreactions as it’s the only way Barcelona talk works. It was the first game with a new team against a very good Rayo team, and there were several positives to take from this one. Not getting the three points is a disappointment, but it’s only the first game. Calm down, everyone.
Barcelona: Ter Roasting; Araujo, Christensen (Robert 60′), Eric, Alba (Aubameyang 82′); Gavi (De Jong 60′), Busquets, Pedri (Kessie 72′); Raphinha (Big 60′), Lewandowski, Dembélé
Red card: Busquets (90’+3)
Vallecano Ray: Dimitrievsky; Balliu, Lejeune, Catena, Garcia; Lopez (Valentine 62′), Ciss; Isi (Sánchez 79′), Trejo (Pozo 84′), Álvaro; Camel (Falcao 62′)