Barcelona Thrash River Plate for Historic Win
A double from Luis Suarez and an earlier goal from Lionel Messi earned FC Barcelona their third Club World Cup in Yokohama, Japan. Messi and Neymar returned to the FC Barcelona lineup after missing the club’s
A double from Luis Suarez and an earlier goal from Lionel Messi earned FC Barcelona their third Club World Cup in Yokohama, Japan.
Messi and Neymar returned to the FC Barcelona lineup after missing the club’s 3-0 drubbing of Guangzhou Evergrande due to injuries. Thus, removing Sergi Roberto and Munir El from the squad. There was no notable pre-game news from River Plate as the Argentinian giants enjoyed an extra day of rest before the final kicked off.
As the underdogs for this clash, River began the fixture looking promising. Earning the first corner kick of the night through a deflection off Javier Mascherano, and not being pressured to sit back in their own half by Barcelona, unlike Evergrande in the semi-finals, were both testimony to this.
River midfielder Matias Kranevetter, showing no signs of holding back from targeting Lionel Messi, received a yellow card in the opening ten minutes. Early into the fixture, Messi was already making what wouldn’t be his last advance towards the River goal.
Mere minutes later, goalkeeper Marcelo Barovero sprung into action for River to defend a shot from Messi, who had received an assist within the penalty box from Andres Iniesta.
Midway through the first half, River began trying their luck at goal through long-range shots, testing Barcelona goalkeeper Claudio Bravo. Lucas Algario and Rodrigo Maro both had attempts at goal picked up by the Chilean shot-stopper.
Following a sequence of advances towards goal from Luis Enqrique’s men, Barcelona netted their first goal of the evening through striker Lionel Messi. As the result of a well-aimed header from Neymar, this goal was testimony to the importance of Neymar and Messi’s inclusion to the attacking force of the European champions.
Iranian referee Alireza Faghani distributed yet another yellow card in the 42nd minute. Ivan Rakitic’s tackle was just another result of the tense atmosphere that prevailed on field throughout the first half. However, the vast majority of the free kicks were against River. With a large and loud army of supporters in the stands as encouragement, River were playing a fierce and passionate game, even having conceded sixteen free kicks by the time Rakitic made his tackle.
The second half began with Luis Suarez doubling Barcelona’s lead. The Uruguayan striker beat Marcelo Barovero in a one-on-one with the goalkeeper through a powerful strike. He could’ve done it again in the 57th minute when he came face-to-face with Barovero once more, but this time Suarez was chased out of the penalty area by the goalkeeper after he left his shot too late.
In the 68th minute, Suarez made the score 3-0 and got his fifth goal in the two games with a brilliant header off a Neymar assist. Despite being well organized for the majority of the game, cracks had shown in the River backline during the game in times like these.
River, however, had not lost motivation to get one back even with the chances of a comeback had been almost eliminated. Argentinian forward Lucas Alario was privotal in setting Claudioa Bravo into motion during the late stages of the game, with two of his attempts on goal being enough to worry the Catalan club’s backline.
But by full time, the stronger side in FC Barcelona held onto their second 3-0 win of the tournament. Achieving a historic victory that sees Barcelona presented not only their third major trophy this year, but their third Club World Cup title, a new football record.
Taking the tournament’s bronze medal prior to the final kicking off, Japanese club Sanfreece Hiroshima made an enthralling comeback to defeat Asian champions Guangzhou Evergrande 2-1. A double from Brazilian striker Douglas in the second half helped the home team overcome Paulinho’s earlier goal for the traveling Chinese powerhouse – James Gow.