By Shane Saroya – EM TV Sports, Port Moresby
Lionel Messi broke the deadlock, and Luis Suarez scored twice in the second half, to give Barcelona a typically emphatic 3-0 win over River Plate in the Club World Cup final.
South American champions, RiverPlate, whose side cost only around €5 million euros in transfer fees (over K16 million), did enough to worry the European champions for the first half hour but were never in the contest after falling behind.
RiverPlate, backed by 15,000 fanatical supporters, made a promising start but producing weak efforts which were easily saved by Barcelona goalkeeper, Claudio Bravo.
Messi was denied by Marcelo Barovero in the 11th minute before scoring the opener.
Messi, playing against an Argentine team for only the second time in his career, showed superb control to turn in Neymar’s header after 36 minutes.
Uruguay forward Suarez burst clear of the RiverPlate defence four minutes after halftime to extend Barcelona’s advantage. He headed another in the 69th minute from a pinpoint Neymar cross to take his tally in the tournament to five goals.
River Plate came close to pulling a goal back in the 77th minute but Alario’s header was tipped over the bar by Bravo.
Eight minutes later, they had another opportunity but Gonzalo Martinez’ left-foot shot hit the post.
The European champions, fielding six South American players in their starting lineup, sliced through the River Plate defence and looked as if they could score with almost every attack as they went on to win the title for the third time.