Champions League: Suarez key in Barca's win over City
MANCHESTER CITY 1 BARCELONA 2
Luis Suarez has played third fiddle in Barcelona’s attacking trio since his big money move from Liverpool but he returned to England on Tuesday with a reminder of the predatory instincts that haunted Premier League defences.
The Uruguayan, so often in the headlines during his spell on Merseyside, mostly for his goals but also for misdemeanours including biting, has impressed at the Nou Camp with his unselfish approach helping Lionel Messi and Neymar shine.
His haul of seven goals in all competitions before Tuesday’s Champions League, last 16, first leg clash with Manchester City at the Etihad was mediocre, however, especially compared to the 31 league goals he scored for Liverpool last season.
Messi already has 37 this season with Neymar on 24.
They both dazzled during Barcelona’s 2-1 victory over City, but it was Suarez who turned the tie firmly the way of the Catalans as they bid for a fifth European title.
Playing at the centre of Barca’s trident, Suarez’s movement gave City’s defence a torrid time and revived nightmares for England keeper Joe Hart.
The superb double he put past Hart in Sao Paulo at the World Cup in June all but ended England’s interest at the finals before Suarez’s teeth then curtailed his own involvement in the showpiece tournament.
His subsequent ban for biting Italy’s Giorgio Chiellini meant his Barca career suffered a false start after his £75 million pounds (S$157.54 million) move from Liverpool in the close season.
Suarez has taken a while to get up to speed but more displays like Tuesday’s will win over the hearts of the Barca fans who prefer to serenade Messi and Neymar.
At Barcelona he has shown a growing maturity, accepting that, despite his huge fee, he is just another part of the orchestra.
Had he been allowed to take the stoppage time penalty that Messi missed and completed a hat-trick, he would have virtually eliminated City single-handedly.
Despite Hart’s save and Messi’s failed attempt to direct the rebound home with his head as the final whistle blew, Suarez said Barcelona were in the driving seat. “I would have take the win beforehand,” he told reporters. “It’s a deserved result and one which we should feel proud of. The first half was splendid and we had an infinity of chances. We are very happy with the result.”
He played down Messi’s fluffed penalty too. “Penalties are missed by those who have the courage to take them and our designated taker is without doubt Leo Messi,” he said. “The goal is to go into the return leg feeling calm.”