Barcelona vs Juventus match report: Luis Suarez and Neymar secure the Champions League to give Barca an historic treble

Barcelona 3 Juventus 1: Ivan Rakitic put Barcelona ahead inside four minutes only for Alvaro Morata to equalise, before Suarez and Neymar secured victory

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The Independent Online

Luis Suarez effectively won the European Cup for Barcelona to complete an incredible first season since his move from Liverpool. He smashed a loose ball past Gianluigi Buffon after the Juventus goalkeeper had saved from Lionel Messi to score the crucial second goal.

It was cruel on Buffon who had kept his team in the game in a first half dominated by Barcelona after Ivan Rakitic had put them in front. The legendary Italian keeper looks set to retire having never won club football’s biggest prize.

For Suarez it was ecstasy and a huge relief after he missed chances that could so easily have put the game beyond Juventus, who came back strongly in the second half with a goal from Alvaro Morata.

Suarez had won two trophies in Holland and a league cup in England before his £75million move in the summer. He has now scored the goal that was decisive in giving Barcelona their fifth European Cup.

It started badly for Barcelona before it started brilliantly. Both Javier Mascherano and Sergi Busquets nervously gave the ball away in the first two minutes and from Busquets’ loose pass Juventus won their first corner. But by minute four Barça were ahead.

Messi started the move by switching the play from right to left and picking out Jordi Alba. He played the ball inside to Neymar who found Andres Iniesta. And as has so often happened over the last decade of the Spaniard’s brilliance, time seemed to stand still as he picked his pass – it was for Ivan Rakitic who had occupied the space opened by Luis Suarez and the Croatian sent the ball past Gianluigi Buffon to put Barcelona ahead.

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Rakitic celebrates scoring the opener

Juventus were stunned and stayed stunned for the next 10 minutes when Barcelona could have disappeared out of sight. Neymar went close and Suarez pulled the ball back for the unmarked Alves but Buffon saved brilliantly.

There were five half chances in five minutes for Barça and Juventus’ only respite came when Morata raced away from Alba and pulled the ball back for Arturo Vidal who blazed over. Vidal was late on both Busquets and Neymar and was booked for the first of the two fouls. 

With shots from Morata and Claudio Marchisio Juventus threatened to come back into the game but Barcelona looked more assured at the back than in those first few minutes before they scored. Mascherano had changed his boots as his team-mates celebrated Rakitic’s goal and had not put a pass astray since.

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Suarez and Alves celebrate Rakitic's first-half goal

Paul Pogba went down on the edge of the area under a challenge from Jordi Alba and there was anger from Juventus players when the Turkish referee Cuneyt Cakir waved away appeals for a free-kick. Pogba then joined Vidal in the book for chopping down Messi.

Five minutes before the break Barcelona almost doubled their lead. Suarez twice went close with one shot that went just past Buffon’s far post and a second that was pushed away for a corner by the Juventus keeper – the 37-year-old had kept his side in the game in the first half.

 

Neymar then crossed for Suarez but his centre was just too high for the Uruguayan. Messi then dribbled past Evra and Leonardo Bonucci, but ran out of pitch. The 120-goal forward line had not added to their tally in the opening 45 minutes but Rakitic’s goal had been enough to send Barcelona in at half-time 1-0 up.

The second half started as the first had ended with Suarez having the chances to put Barcelona further ahead. Rakitic played him in down the left but his shot lacked the power to beat Buffon, who turned it away for a corner.

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Morata peels away after equalising

With every missed opportunity came the feeling that Barcelona would pay for their wastefulness and on 55 minutes the punishment was served – by a former Real Madrid player. Marchisio back-heeled Stephan Lichtenstein into space and he crossed for Tevez. The former Manchester United and City forward’s shot was saved by Ter Stegen but it ran to Morata who swept it past him. It was a goal for Juventus, and one for his former club against their great rival.

Suddenly Juventus believed. Pogba tested Ter Stegen from distance and Alba could be seen screaming at Neymar to track back and defend. All of Barcelona’s first half control had evaporated and so had their lead.

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Suarez celebrates giving Barcelona a 2-1 lead

Barça seem to have tired and there were even fears that Messi had taken a knock and was hobbling. He shook off the knock and several Juentus defenders to shoot at Buffon who parry was finished off by Suarez. At times this season he has found himself standing aside to allow others – particularly Messi – to shoot. This time no one was going to stop him stepping in front of Rakitic to score the biggest goal of his career.

Neymar, who had a goal disallowed for handball, wrapped up he scoring by driving home the third with the last kick of the game.

Line-ups:

Barcelona: (4-3-3) Ter Stegen; Alves, Pique, Mascherano, Alba; Rakitic (Mathieu, 89), Busquets, Iniesta (Xavi, 78); Messi, Suarez, (Pedro, 90) Neymar.

Juventus: (4-3-1-2) Buffon; Lichtsteiner, Bonucci, Barzagli, Evra (Coman, 88); Marchisio, Pirlo, Pogba; Vidal (Peyreyra, 79); Tevez, Morata (Llorente, 85).

Referee: Cuneyt Cakir (Tur)

Man of the match: Iniesta (Barcelona)

Match rating: 8/10

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