Barca's new stars fail to inspire in tame display

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After finally registering its new recruits on Saturday (AEST), Robert Lewandowski, Andreas Christensen and Raphinha were handed debuts, but could not provide the difference in a tame display that saw Sergio Busquets sent off late on.

Stole Dimitrievski was forced into action on several occasions but was never really tested, while Marc Andre ter Stegen had to be alert at the other end to prevent a third consecutive defeat to the Madrid outfit.

Barcelona came closest through Lewandowski, who saw a debut goal chalked off and hit another late effort just wide as the hosts failed to capitalise despite dominating possession.

It could have been a different story as Lewandowski took just 12 minutes to find the back of the net in LaLiga, chipping an effort over the onrushing Dimitrievski, but his celebrations were cut short by the offside flag.

While Barcelona was in control, the best chance of the opening period fell to the visitors as Ter Stegen was called into action to keep Alvaro Garcia at bay after a fake shot left Ronald Araujo on the deck.

The visitors had another golden opportunity six minutes after the restart, pressing high to steal possession and Sergio Camello danced his way through the defence but was unable to hit the target.

Ansu Fati made a swift impact after his second-half introduction, testing Dimitrievski with a curling effort.

Fellow substitutes Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Franck Kessie also came close, the former seeing an attempt cleared off the line while the latter found the net, but the hosts were again denied by the offside flag.

A frustrating night was further compounded during eight minutes of stoppage-time as Busquets was dismissed after being shown a second yellow card for catching Radamel Falcao with a stray arm, while Falcao also had a goal disallowed for the visitors for offside in the closing minutes as both were forced to settle for a draw.


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