Sports / Soccer

Luis Suarez's head-trick seals Guangzhou Evergrande's fate

By Qiu Quanlin in Guangzhou ( Updated: 2015-12-17 21:09

Luis Suarez's head-trick seals Guangzhou Evergrande's fate

Barcelona's Luis Suarez (L) celebrates after scoring the third goal for Barcelona from the penalty spot and completes his hattrick during their Club World Cup semi-final soccer match against Guangzhou Evergrande in Yokohama, south of Tokyo, Japan, December 17, 2015. [Photo/Agencies]

Guangzhou Evergrande, the five-time champions of Chinese Super League, stopped their pace advancing into the final of the Club World Cup, losing 3-0 in the semi-final against European giant Barcelona.

Despite the absence of South America's twin stars Lionel Messi and Neymar, Luis Suarez's head-trick at the Yokohama International Stadium on Thursday evening helped Barcelona secure a berth in the final against the River Plate on Dec 20.

Argentinian great Lionel Messi missed the semi-final against the Chinese side, due to suffering from renal colic, a type of abdominal pain commonly attributed to kidney stones, according to the European champions.

Guangzhou Evergrande, also the AFC Champions League, will face an all-Asian encounter against Japan's Sanfrecce Hiroshima for third place in three days.

Despite the loss in the semi-final, which was dominated by Barcelona, players of the Chinese side said the games against continental giants would helped boost the team's strength and increase its international presence.

Before the meeting with Barcelona, Zheng Zhi, the Guangzhou side's captain, told "It is a great chance for us to see how we've progressed and also gain even more experience against tough opponents."

Earlier on Dec 13, the Guangzhou side came up to defeat the Club America 2-1.

"We played so hard against America because we wanted to win so badly and earn the opportunity of playing against Barcelona," Zheng, 35, said.

Playing the Club World Cup served as a reward for the Chinese side's title-winning performances in the AFC Champions League, according to Zheng.

It was the second appearance for the Chinese league champions at the Club World Cup - they finished fourth on their tournament debut, at Morocco in 2013 after being beaten by Bayern Munich 3-0 at the semifinal.

"We are playing in the Club World Cup representing Asia and this proves that we are the continent's best. It is also recognition of our football ability, showing what we are capable of in front of the watching world," said Zheng.

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