FC Barcelona vs Guangzhou Evergrande : Match report
Luis Suarez made use of the absences of Lionel Messi and Neymar as his amazing hat-trick sent Barcelona into the Club World Cup final with a comfortable 3-0 win over Guangzhou Evergrande Taobao this Thursday.
Neymar was only fit enough for the relaxing bench due to a groin injury and Luis Enrique’s side were given further cause for worry when Messi was ruled out merely hours before kick-off with renal colic.
Although, it was not until the 23rd minute that Barca conjured their first clear chance, but Li Shuai was off his stance quickly to block Munir El Haddadi’s solid effort after a brilliant through-ball offered by Andres Iniesta.
Guangzhou were dealt a substantial blow when Zou Zheng had to be stretchered off with a potentially serious injury to his ankle and their job became even greater when Suarez opened the scoring sheet after 39 minutes.
Ivan Rakitic’s shot from far was poorly parried by Shuai, allowing the speedy Suarez to steal in and kick high into the net from six yards.
Suarez struck yet again just after the break to increase Barca’s lead – and in some style too. The Uruguay star laid the ball off to Iniesta and, after the captain’s clinical chip over the top of the defence, he received and chested the ball down before striking it high into the far corner of the net.
Iniesta found the misplaced side of the roof of the net with a fine curved effort from 20 yards as Barca started to enjoy their control over the proceedings, and when Huang Bowen suddenly tripped Munir inside the box pursuing Dani Alves’ brilliant no-look pass, Suarez gained full advantage from the spot to finish his hat-trick.
But the Liga leaders were capable of handing run-outs to the substitutes Sandro Ramirez, Adriano and Sergi Samper later on as they sailed through to Sunday’s final against Copa Libertadores holders River.