Barcelona makes history with second European treble

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Barcelona’s Croatian midfielder Ivan Rakitic (L) is congratulated by teammates after scoring during the UEFA Champions League Final football match between Juventus and FC Barcelona at the Olympic Stadium in Berlin.  AFP PHOTO

Barcelona’s Croatian midfielder Ivan Rakitic (L) is congratulated by teammates after scoring during the UEFA Champions League Final football match between Juventus and FC Barcelona at the Olympic Stadium in Berlin.
AFP PHOTO

BERLIN: Luis Suarez and Neymar scored second-half goals to give Barcelona a 3-1 Champions League final victory over Juventus on Saturday (Sunday in Manila) as the Spaniards became the first team to twice win the European treble.

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Luis Enrique capped his first season as Barcelona’s head coach by matching Pep Guardiola’s feat from the 2008/09 season when the Catalans captured the European, Spanish league and cup titles.

An early goal by Barca’s Ivan Rakitic was cancelled out by Juventus’ ex-Real Madrid striker Alvaro Morata, who equalised on 55 minutes.

But Suarez put the game beyond the Italian champions with a 68th minute strike off a rebound at Berlin’s Olympic Stadium. Neymar added the third with the last kick of the game in the 97th minute.

Juventus suffered the indignation of becoming the first team to lose six European Cup finals, 30 years after winning the trophy for the first time amidst the tragedy of the Heysel Stadium disaster.

This was the fifth time Barcelona have been crowned European champions and it is their fourth Champions League title in the last decade after their 2006, 2009 and 2011 triumphs.

On the streets of Barcelona, where you could have heard a pin drop during the final, thousands of ecstatic fans dressed in their team colours of blue and red celebrated with cheers, chants and fire crackers.

“It’s a dream, I still can’t believe it!” said Eduard Ocana, a 23-year-old student, in the Catalan capital, as cries of “champions, champions!” echoed around the famous party street of Las Ramblas.

For Suarez it was a triumphant end to a first season with the Spanish champions after his ignominious biting ban at the World Cup.

“It’s incredible, it’s something unique. To win these trophies you have to suffer,” he said.

“The best thing about this side is the spirit and the fact we’ve been united since the start of the season.”

AFP

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