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Champions League final: Rakitic, Suarez, Neymar net as Barca best Juve

| 07.06.2015

Barcelona made it four Champions League crowns in nine years to complete a treble in Luis Enrique’s first season in charge, beating Juventus 3-1 and stopping Massimiliano Allegri’s Old Lady from doing likewise.

Luis Suarez, and later Neymar, scored after Juve’s Spanish striker Alvaro Morata had cancelled out a sublime Barca team opener, finished off by fellow debut season signing Ivan Rakitic.

Germany Soccer Champions League Final

A shaky start from the Catalan giants, typified by a complete lack of sureness underfoot from Javier Mascherano on Berlin’s Olympiastadion turf, melted away in stunning fashion.

Croatia midfielder Rakitic, signed by Barcelona to replace club legend Xavi Hernandez, put the odds-on favourites ahead inside four minutes, completing a move started off by Lionel Messi’s sensational crossfield ball.

That found Jordi Alba up from left back, and he allowed Neymar to take over. The Brazil star forward then found Andres Iniesta, who broke from midfield and squared to another later runner Rakitic to fire past Ginaluigi Buffon.

Germany Soccer Champions League Final

Arturo Vidal, who flirted with a red card after four poor fouls in the opening quarter, blazed over following good work from Morata running the channels.

Buffon then readjusted superbly to deny Dani Alves and Alba’s strike from a deep Rakitic corner also went close. Chances continued to come, mainly for Barca, with Claudio Marchisio lashing wide after Morata curled off target at the other end.

The first of two Paul Pogba penalty shouts followed, though replays showed what contact there was from Alba came outside the area.

Soccer - UEFA Champions League - Final - Juventus v Barcelona - Olympiastadion

Suarez forced Buffon into action with the second of a couple of late first-half efforts, while Marchisio stung the palms of Marc-Andre ter Stegen with Juventus’ only shot on target before the break.

Buffon thwarted Suarez again after the break when Rakitic slipped him in and the Uruguayan tried to beat the veteran keeper on his near post. More sublime skill from Messi saw him play two one-twos in quick succession with Barcelona teammates, but fired over.

Morata then stunned the Catalans by levelling for Juve 10 minutes into the second-half. Marchisio’s lovely back-heel found Carlos Tevez, who forced Ter Stegen to parry his shot on the turn and the Spanish striker was on hand to tap in.

Germany Soccer Champions League Final

Pogba then appeared to be hauled down by Mascherano, but again there was no penalty awarded to the Old Lady. Instead, they fell behind once more with a quarter of the game to go as Barca responded to being pegged back.

Buffon did just enough to keep out another Messi effort, but Suarez followed up to fire in the rebound. Neymar thought he had a third moments later, but replays showed the officials were right to rule his header out as the final touch came off his hand.

Ter Stegen had to turn a deflected Marchisio drive behind to preserve Barcelona’s lead, and victory was sealed deep into stoppage time when substitute Pedro Rodriguez teed up Neymar to net on the counter.

Germany Soccer Champions League Final

The absence of Giorgio Chiellini, widely regarded as Juventus’ best defender, and losing the tactical battle to Barcelona, who simply played around a flooded Old Lady midfield by maximising their advantage out wide, prove pivotal in this Champions League final.



Jamie Clark

Athletics aficionado, die-hard snooker fan and Crystal Palace supporter Jamie has written for Coral since February 2014 after spells with Soccerlens and the Press Association as a digital journalist and copywriter. A former East Midlands sports correspondent and Bwin tipster, he is a graduate of both the University of York and University of Sheffield, with a Masters in web journalism from the latter.