Suarez double powers Barca to Napoli rout; Atletico down Juve - GulfToday

Suarez double powers Barca to Napoli rout; Atletico down Juve

Luis-Suarez

Barcelona’s Luis Suarez (right) scores against Napoli during their friendly match at the Michigan Stadium on Saturday. Reuters

Luis Suarez scored twice, Antoine Griezmann netted his first goal for Barcelona and the Lionel Messi-less Spanish side ripped Napoli 4-0 Saturday in its final La Liga season tuneup.

Six days before Barcelona’s opener against Atletico Bilbao, and with new talk swirling about a possible Neymar return to Camp Nou, the Spanish club routed the same Italian side that fell 2-1 to Barca on Wednesday in Miami.

Messi did not make the US trip due to a calf injury but no Messi proved no problem for Barcelona.

A crowd of 60,043 at 110,000-seat Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, Michigan, was treated to an exquisite passing display by Barcelona, which netted four goals in 15 minutes to seal Napoli’s fate.

Suarez opened the scoring in the 48th minute, the Uruguayan forward blasting in a rebound after a Griezmann shot had been denied, Napoli protesting in vain the French striker had been offside.

Griezmann opened his Barcelona goal account in the 56th minute after an impressive run by defender Jordi Alba. The Spaniard charged deep into the box, then flicked a pass to his right and Griezmann netted a left-footed tap-in to lift Barcelona ahead 2-0.

Before Napoli could regain composure, Suarez found the net against with a beauty in the 58th minute, the South American firing a right-footed blast from the top of the box and tucking the ball just inside the right goalpost.

French striker Ousmane Dembele completed the scoring in the 63rd minute, his right-footed blast for the right side tucking just inside the far post.

In France, meanwhile, Neymar was left out of Paris Saint-Germain’s opener and club sporting director Leonardo said transfer talks are “more advanced than before” regarding the Brazilian.

A move to Real Madrid or a return to Barcelona are seen as the most likely destinations for the world’s most expensive footballer, with Spanish media on Friday saying that Zinedine Zidane’s side will battle Barca for the 27-year-old’s signature.

Elsewhere, Record signing Joao Felix scored two first-half goals for Atletico Madrid as they secured a 2-1 win over Juventus in the International Champions Cup at the Friends Arena on Saturday.

Although the vast majority of fans in the crowd seemed to be more interested in seeing his fellow Portuguese Cristiano Ronaldo, Felix opened the scoring by squeezing a first-time finish through two defenders and into the back of the net midway through the first half.

Sami Khedira equalised for the Italian champions in the 29th minute but Felix, who joined Atletico from Benfica for a reported 126 million euros ($141 million) in July, netted his second four minutes later.

The Spanish side open their La Liga campaign at home to Getafe next Sunday, while Juventus travel to Parma on Aug. 24 to begin their Serie A season.

Juventus forward Paulo Dybala, who has been at the centre of transfer speculation, played for the last half hour but coach Maurizio Sarri would not be drawn on whether the Argentine would be staying at the club.

Sarri, who has replaced Massimiliano Allegri, added that he would have to leave out at least six players from his Champions League squad to meet UEFA size requirements.

“I can talk about Paulo all I like, but the market goes in a certain way and then whatever I say counts for nothing,” Sarri told reporters.

“I think he has the right characteristics to play as a false centre forward. But in any case, we have to cut six players from the Champions League list.

“Our situation is difficult, almost embarrassing, because we run the risk of leaving out players of a really high level.

“It’s a situation we have to resolve and it is not just about the decisions made by coach or club.”

Agencies