Suarez steals show as Barcelona ease past Evergrande
NO Lionel Messi, no Neymar, no matter. Luis Suarez stole the show for Barcelona as the Catalans eased past Guangzhou Evergrande in the semi-finals of the Club World Cup yesterday. In the absence of the game’s two finest footballers in 2015, the Uruguayan showed he is the best centre-forward around.
Suarez struggled for goals at the beginning of his Camp Nou career, but really got going after Christmas and ended the campaign with 25 in 43 games en route to the club’s treble triumph. It was an impressive return and aside from scoring, he does so much more for the team.
“Suarez gives us a lot,” Luis Enrique said in October. “What he gives us is priceless, non-negotiable. He gives us power inside the box, he’s irreplaceable. And he does a lot of good defensive work as well.”
And he scores goals, of course. The Uruguayan now has 22 in just 23 games in 2015-16 (and 15 in his last 10 appearances) to close in on his mark from last season with over half of the campaign still ahead. At his current rate, he is on target to net 50 goals or more this term.
Against Guangzhou, he was the go-to guy for Barca after Neymar was ruled out through injury and Messi missed the match with kidney stones. Luis Enrique’s men took time to find their rhythm against a defensive Guangzhou, but Suarez scored the opener six minutes before half-time with a typically opportunistic effort after goalkeeper Li Shuai could only parry a stinging drive by Ivan Rakitic.
And five minutes after the interval, he added another with a fantastic finish after playing a one-two with Andres Iniesta, chesting the ball down and smashing it into the far corner.
He then completed his hat-trick from the penalty spot later on (after Munir El Haddadi had dived in the area) to become the first player ever to score a treble in a Club World Cup and seal a place in the final against River Plate on Sunday.
• Culled from goal.com