Suarez scores brace as Barcelona tramples Napoli 4-0 in pre-season friendly
Antoine Griezmann (L) and Luis Suarez (R) of FC Barcelona celebrate a goal during the friendly match against SSC Naples at the Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, United States, Aug. 10, 2019. EFE-EPA/RENA LAVERTY
Antoine Griezmann (top) of FC Barcelona in action against Kostas Manolas of Napoli during their friendly match at the Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, United States, Aug. 10, 2019. EFE-EPA/RENA LAVERTY
Ousmane Dembele (C) of FC Barcelona in action against Fabian Ruiz (R) of Napoli during their friendly match at the Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, United States, Aug. 10, 2019. EFE-EPA/RENA LAVERTY
Ann Arbor, USA, Aug 10 (efe-epa).- Uruguayan forward Luis Suarez once again led the attack for FC Barcelona, scoring two goals in the Spanish team's 4-0 drubbing of Napoli on Saturday in a friendly that was part of both teams' pre-season United States tour.
In the first half, Barcelona had several clear scoring opportunities, especially one involving the club's new signing, French striker Antoine Griezmann. But the Catalan squad initially seemed to suffer from the absence of star player Leo Messi, who did not set foot on the pitch due to a calf injury sustained during training earlier in the week.
Napoli also came close to going one up at the 45th minute as Fabian Ruiz went within inches of finding the net just before the half-time whistle saw the teams walk off with a level scoreboard displaying 0-0 at the Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor.
However, the second half was a show of dominance and a masterclass in offensive play by the Spanish league champions in a match that saw the stadium's lowest attendance so far, as only about 60,000 fans watched from the bleachers, leaving a hole of more than 45,000 empty seats.
After the break, Napoli coach Carlo Ancelotti made three changes, while Barça kick-started its goalscoring exhibition in the 47th minute with Suarez making the most of a Griezmann shot that rebounded off the Italian squad's keeper, Alex Meret.
Then, to the delight of the Barça fans present, Griezmann scored his first goal for his new club in the 55th minute, taking the lead to 2-0.
The frenzy intensified when soon after, in the 57th minute, Suarez found the back of the net for the second time following an assist by Frenchman Ousmane Dembele, while Meret looked on helplessly.
A few minutes later, it was Dembele's turn to join the party in the 63rd minute as he scored Barcelona's fourth goal, thus crowning an inspired and tireless performance.
Barcelona was unstoppable, and Napoli was unable to find a way to check the opponent's offensive power.
After the 65th minute, Barça coach Ernesto Valverde brought in Brazilian players Coutinho and Arthur, as well as Chilean winger Arturo Vidal, in order to give them game time in the pre-season after they joined the squad late owing to their participation in the Copa America. EFE-EPA