Barcelona beats Juventus 3-1 in Champions League Final

barcelona-vs-juventusBarcelona won their fifth UEFA Champions League title in history after beating Juventus by a score of 3-1. Ivan Rakitic started the scoring for Barca in the fourth minute, while Luis Saurez (68th minute) and Neymar (stoppage time) put the match away in the second half.

This has been a huge season for Barcelona, given that they won their first title since 2011, along with the La Liga title and Spanish King’s Cup. All of this looks especially impressive for Luis Enrique, a former Spanish midfielder who’s coaching his first year at the Barca helm.

“It’s incredible, a dream, something unique,” said an excited Suarez. “To win these competitions you have to suffer, if not it’s not worth it, and today we had to suffer to win the match.”

Things obviously weren’t so cheerful for Juventus, which becomes the first club to love six Champions League finals. They have also lost their last four matches on Europe’s biggest stage.

“We believed we had a chance of pulling off this great feat but we didn’t manage it and the best team won,” said Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon. “In football that doesn’t always happen but this time that was the case.”

Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s look at a quick recap of Barcelona’s 3-1 victory over Juve.

Fast Start

Rakitic’s goal at four minutes was actually the fourth-fastest goal in Champions League history. All 10 outfield players touched the ball on the possession, with captain Andres Iniesta finding Rakitic for the first score. If not for Buffon’s excellent one-handed save in the 13th minute, on a shot by Dani Alves, Barcelona would have had a quick 2-0 lead.

Barcelona takes Control in Second Half

barcelona-vs-juventus-1Three minutes into the second half, Alvaro Morata, a former Real Madrid striker, was able to give Juve their first score. This goal gave Juve life since they’d previously been struggling to keep Barcelona’s talented lineup from getting good shots.

However, the match would quickly swing into Barca’s favor, when Lionel Messi’s shot was deflected by Buffon, only for Saurez to find the net afterward. Not long after this, Neymar had a goal disallowed because his header bounced off his outstretched hand before going into the net. The Brazilian star forward wasn’t happy by any means, but he would get another chance in stoppage time, putting Barcelona up 3-1 and ending any hope for Juve.

barcelona-vs-juventus-2End of Eras

This is the last ride for Juventus’ core group, given that their average age is 30 and they’re Europe’s second-oldest team. This aging group fought hard in the finals, but the talented trio of Neymar, Saurez and Messi proved too much.

Barca’s Xavi has played his last game for the Catalan club, while it’s a wonder how many seasons Iniesta has left. The midfielder is now the first Barcelona player to have played in four European finals.

Neymar scores Twice in First Match since Back Injury

neymar-vs-leonThe last image that fans got of Neymar during the 2014 World Cup was of him being carried off on a stretcher in pain during Brazil’s 2-1 quarterfinals victory over Columbia. Neymar broke a vertebra in his back when Colombian defender Juan Camillo Zuniga inadvertently kneed him on a header attempt.

Over one month removed from this injury, Neymar was back on the pitch during Barcelona’s preseason tuneup game against Mexican champion Leon. And he contributed two goals during the 6-0 route of Leon along with an assist to Lionel Messi.

The assist came just three minutes into the match. Then Neymar added his two goals in the 12th and 44th minutes. He was substituted out at halftime, making way for Barcelona youth forwards Munir El Haddadi to score in the 54th and 77th minutes and Sandro Ramirez to score in the 89th.

Going back to Neymar, he definitely looks to add another dimension to Barca’s high-powered attack. The 21-year-old, who scored four goals in five World Cup matches, now has two goals in his lone preseason match. So if you’re into Spanish La Liga betting, definitely keep his star power in mind.

Suarez also returns

luis-suarez-vs-leonNeymar’s return wasn’t the only big news for Barcelona this past weekend. Luis Suarez also played his first match since the 2014 World Cup, where he was infamously banned for biting an Italian defender. Unlike Neymar, though, Suarez didn’t have quite the dramatic impact.

He entered in the 75th minute as a substitute, drawing lots of cheers from the Camp Nou crowd in Barcelona. Suarez only touched the ball a few times in his limited minutes, but there should definitely be more to come from the talented striker.

He transferred over from Liverpool after FIFA imposed a 4-month ban on him. Suarez was originally not allowed to practice with Barcelona or participate in exhibition matches. However, FIFA has since softened their stance, which is why he was allowed to play in the match against Leon. He also just started practicing last Friday – a big reason why he only got to play 15 minutes.