Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 6th 2015 Contents A53
Saturday, June 6, 2015 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
BERLIN---The most fearsome attack in world
football has fired Barcelona to the verge of
its fourth Champions League title in a decade.
Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar have
scored 25 of Barcelona s 28 goals on the way
to the final and few are betting against them
leading the club to a record second treble
With one game still to play, the Barca trident
has scored 120 goals in all competitions this
season, bettering the mark of 118 set by Real
Madrid s Karim Benzema, Cristiano Ronaldo
and Gonzalo Higuain in 2012.
Not only do they score goals, however, they
create them too, and it is the nature of their
unselfish play that has seen them reap the
rewards and cause havoc to opposing defenses.
In contrast to the famed "BBC" of Benzema,
Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo at Madrid,
Barcelona s trio work together to create space
in which the others thrive.
Suarez has been the main beneficiary. Despite
a slow start---a start delayed further after his
fourth-month ban for biting Italy and Juventus
defender Giorgio Chiellini at the World Cup---
the Uruguay forward has contributed 24 goals
in his debut season at Barcelona. The delicate
touch he displayed to control the ball before
firing Barcelona to victory over Madrid in
March illustrated why the Catalan side took
a chance on the immensely talented but con-
Suarez is arguably the "missing piece"
Barcelona was looking for after a trophyless
season in 2013-14 under Gerardo Martino.
Neymar too appears to have matured. Still
only 23, the Brazilian is in his second season
at Barca and seems to have toned down flam-
boyance for greater efficiency. He has scored
38 goals this season, including decisive goals
in important games, not least the injury time-
strike against Bayern Munich that gave Barca
one foot in the Champions League final with
a 3-0 semifinal first leg result. He scored twice
again in the second leg for a 5-3 aggregate
Messi remains the undisputed star, though.
Despite not playing as an out-and-out forward
the Argentine has bagged an incredible 58 goals
alone in this campaign.
If he scores again against Juventus today
Messi will be the first player to score in three
Champions League finals, having also found
the net in Barca s 2009 and 2011 triumphs.
The 27-year-old s mere presence causes
consternation in opposing defenses, which
often resort to man-marking, sometimes with
more than one defender. This in turn creates
more space for his companions and very often
proves futile in any case as the elusive Messi
always looks capable of gliding past defend-
ers.Suarez is the tallest of the forwards, yet is
hardly a giant at 1.81 metres (5-foot-11). Neymar
is 1.75 metres (5-foot-9) and Messi is 1.69
metres (5 foot-6) cm.
The latter certainly uses his low centre of
gravity to his advantage, as Diego Maradona,
another Argentine great, did before him.
It was the decision to switch Messi to the
right and give Suarez more room in front of
goal that helped turn Barcelona s season around.
The club was in turmoil after a 1-0 defeat at
Real Sociedad on January 4 capped a series of
Messi missed training the following day,
prompting talk of a rift with coach Luis
Enrique. Sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta
was sacked the same day, his assistant Carles
Puyol left, and president Josep Bartomeu called
for early elections.
The crisis helped Enrique turn things around
with the realization that Messi and Suarez
playing together up front left little room for
either to operate.
"It was very crowded so the decision was
taken to move Leo further out," Barcelona
defender Gerard Pique said.
Messi duly obliged by leading Barcelona on
a run that included 31 wins, two draws and
just one defeat. The side is now tantalisingly
close to repeating its 2009 Spanish league,
cup and Champions League treble.
"Messi is the best in the world without a
doubt, for me the best in history," Enrique
"But to win trophies we need a team behind,
playing together, as we are doing." (AP)
AMSTERDAM---Bobby Wood scored a 90th-
minute winner yesterday as the United States
rallied from two goals down to beat the Nether-
lands 4-3 in a friendly at the Amsterdam
Jurgen Klinsmann s team trailed 3-1 with 20
minutes left but John Brooks started the come-
back in the 71st and the Americans netted twice
more in the last three minutes of regulation
time for their first ever win over the Dutch.
Wood slotted in his first international goal two
minutes after Danny Williams had made it 3-
3 with a shot that flew in after deflecting off
Dutch striker Luuk de Jong.
"I was lucky that my shot deflected at the
end. It s an absolutely fantastic feeling to win
against Holland in Amsterdam," Williams said.
Klaas-Jan Huntelaar had earlier scored two
headers and assisted on Memphis Depay s goal.
Gyasi Zardes equalised for the US after Hunter-
laar s first goal.
Huntelaar tied and then moved past Patrick
Kluivert into second place on the list of all-
time top scorers for the Netherlands, taking his
international tally to 41 goals in 72 matches.
Dutch captain Robin van Persie tops the list,
but couldn t add to his 49 goals before he was
substituted in the second half.
The Americans secured the win without three
key players. Captain Clint Dempsey stayed in
Seattle to await the birth of his fourth child,
fellow attacker Jozy Altidore is recovering from
a hamstring injury and midfielder Alejandro
Bedoya was out with a knee injury.
The Netherlands was without Bayern Munich
winger Arjen Robben, whose season was ended
by a calf injury. Klinsmann next takes his team
to his home country to play world champion
Germany on June 10. The Netherlands has a
crucial European Championship qualifier in
Latvia next Friday. Guus Hiddink s team is third
in Group A after five matches and badly needs
The Americans had early chances but captain
Michael Bradley hit the inside of the post and
Fabian Johnson slotted the rebound into the
side netting. Goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen then
saved a shot by Brek Shea in the 22nd after the
Orlando City forward had surged into the box
from the left flank. The Dutch were more clinical
as Huntelaar rose between John Brooks and
Ventura Alvarado to head home his 40th inter-
national goal from Depay s cross in the 27th.
That lead didn t last long. Zardes got behind
defender Daryl Janmaat in the 33rd to tuck away
a cross by Johnson at the far post for his first
Depay, who is moving from Dutch league
champion PSV Eindhoven to Manchester United
in the off season, caused the US defense prob-
lems throughout the match with his pace and
Huntelaar netted his second header to make
it 2-1 four minutes after the break, after an
inch-perfect cross from the right by half-time
substitute Gregory van der Wiel.
Depay made it 3-1 by deflecting a powerful
shot by Huntelaar past Guzan in the 53rd.
Brooks cut the lead when he dispossessed
Huntelaar inside his own half and then surged
forward to meet a cross from the right by sub-
stitute DeAndre Yedlin.
That strike paved the way for substitutes
Morris and Wood to steal the win in the final
favourite Argentina was eliminated in
the group stage at the Under-20 World
Cup for the first time in 24 years after
drawing 0-0 with Austria yesterday.
The Argentines were knocked out by
host New Zealand s 5-1 defeat of Myan-
mar. New Zealand advanced as one of the
four best third-placed teams in group
Meanwhile, Austria advanced for only
the second time, along with Ghana and
Argentina took only two points from
three matches in Group B after a loss
against Ghana and draws against Panama
and Austria, and needed to win and New
Zealand not to win.
"We don t deserve to be out of the
World Cup at this stage," Argentina coach
Humberto Grondona said.
"We expected a lot of ourselves and
came to New Zealand with high hopes.
"We gave it our all today but the ball
just didn t want to go into the back to
the net. Now we ve got to hope for a mir-
Argentina, the champion six times,
pressed Austria relentlessly, securing 71
per cent of possession and creating 27
shots on goal, but despite its energetic
attempts, it couldn t break down the dis-
ciplined and well-ordered Austria defense.
Playmaker Angel Correa was a constant
threat but even his outstanding range of
skills couldn t crack the Austrians.
New Zealand posted its first win at a
FIFA tournament, after conceding an early
goal to Myanmar. The Kiwis equalised
with their first goal at a FIFA U-20 tour-
nament, by Noah Billingsley in the 40th.
New Zealand lost 4-0 to the US in its
previous match, showing a lack of fire-
power in front of goal, but it found its
scoring touch after halftime. From 1-1 it
took charge of the match with four goals.
New Zealand was third in Group A.
Ghana reached the round of 16 with a
1-0 win over Panama, scoring the match-
winning goal in the 82nd minute through
Ghana topped Group B with seven
points and advanced with Austria, which
finished second on five points.
Ghana seemed lethargic at times against
Panama, but began to show real urgency
in the last ten minutes as the three points
it anticipated seemed like eluding it.
Substitute Boateng decided the contest
with a brilliant solo goal, driving forward
strongly, twisting away from the challenge
of Francisco Narbon, and curling a superb
20-yard shot just inside the right-hand
"Our opponents surprised me," Ghana
coach Sellas Tetteh said. "I was in shock
simply because at the World Cup you see
such different standards of performance,
and today Panama played very well."
Viktor Kovalenko scored a hat trick as
Ukraine clinched its place in the knockout
rounds with a 3-0 win over the United
States. While the loss was a setback, the
US will also progress after winning its
first two matches in Group A.
Ukraine and the US played out a tight
and scoreless first half before the Euro-
peans took control through Kovalenko in
the second half. (AP)
Barca's fearsome front 3
firing the side to success
Barcelona's Neymar, Luis Suarez and Gerard Pique, from left, talk to Lionel Messi during a
training session at the Olympic stadium in Berlin yesterday on the eve of the football
Champions League final between Juventus Turin and FC Barcelona today. AP PHOTO
US rallies late to beat Netherlands 4-3 in friendly
Argentina out, NZ
through to playoffs
at U20 World Cup
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