FC Barcelona vs Guangzhou Evergrande : Picture gallery
FC Barcelona defeated Guangzhou Evergrande in their FIFA Club World Cup semi-final this Thursday afternoon, with Luis Suarez confidently scoring a superb hat-trick.
Guangzhou rarely showed any sign of a fight-back and Suarez sent home a penalty to complete his treble – the very first in the tournament’s history – on 67 minutes and secured the victory for Barca, who now remain set on course to claim their fifth trophy of 2015 in this Sunday’s final against River Plate.
Guangzhou were happy to just sit deep and try to spring a quickly paced counter-attack, but Barca offered very little to trouble the Chinese champions in a rather pedestrian opening period.
Luiz Felipe Scolari‘s men, meanwhile, will now play against Sanfrecce Hiroshima in the third-place play-off.
The Spanish giants were without the presence of Lionel Messi for the tie as the Argentine had suffered an illness just hours before the start.
With Neymar being out of the team too, through his injury, it was up to Sergi Roberto, Munir El Haddadi and the currently in-form Suarez to lead the front.
And they did just that and more. Suarez opened the scoring right on the 39th minute, after Guangzhou shot-stopper Li Shuai could not really hold on to Ivan Rakitic’s marvelous effort – a tap-in by the Uruguayan’s usual standards.
The teams went into the break with Barca confidently leading by that goal, and the Catalan giants having most of the possession in Guangzhou’s end.
The former Liverpool striker further added to the scoreline five minutes after half-time, after some splendid link-up play with Andres Iniesta allowing the striker through on goal, making it 2-0 for the Spanish giants.
Suarez yet again rounded up Barca’s third after Munir was unethically brought down in the box. The striker’s converted penalty in the 67th minute witnessed him become the first player in this competition’s history to score a hat-trick.
The Catalans will now meet River Plate in the Club World Cup final on Sunday.