Barcelona 4 Santos 0: Carles Puyol hails commanding final display
Carles Puyol hails "deserved" Barcelona Club World Cup success after win over Santos secured them their fifth trophy of 2011
Carles Puyol hailed Barcelona’s Club World Cup final display as Lionel Messi’s sparkling performance helped the Spanish side to a 4-0 rout over Santos in Sunday’s final in Yokohama.
First-half goals from Messi, Xavi HernÃ¡ndez and Cesc FÃ bregas put Barcelona into a commanding lead and Pep Guardiola’s side secured their fifth trophy of 2011 when Messi netted his second of game in the 82nd minute.
“We played a great and complete game with a lot of intensity,” said Puyol afterwards. “The first two goals we scored calmed us down but we never doubted ourselves.
“I think it was a fair result. We surprised Santos by coming at them straight from the start, which they probably weren’t used to as they tend to have more time on the ball in their domestic league. It cost us a lot to get here and we’re very happy.”
Barcelona took an early lead after 17 minutes when Xavi expertly controlled an awkward pass from FÃ bregas before releasing Messi, who chipped his shot over onrushing Santos goalkeeper Rafael Cabral.
And the Champions League holders doubled their advantage six minutes later. A sweeping Barcelona move culminated in Dani Alves firing in a low cross and Xavi elegantly stroked his shot past Cabral.
FÃ bregas then capitalised on confusion in the Santos box on the stroke of half-time, directing his shot into the far corner after Thiago’s initial effort was parried by Cabral into the former Arsenal skipper’s path.
Santos managed to finally manufacture a shot on goal after the interval as a mistake from substitute Javier Mascherano allowed Neymar to race clear – but the highly-rated 19-year-old was unable to place his shot past VÃctor ValdÃ©s, who made a low save.
The La Liga side were unfortunate not to extend their lead further when Alves’ effort smacked against the post. But with eight minutes left, the Brazilian and Messi combined for the Argentine to round Cabral and roll the ball into an empty net.
Reported Chelsea transfer target Neymar admitted Barcelona deserved the win after the game.
“Barcelona were the far superior team, they have some fantastic players,” Neymar said. “We are a young team and we have finished second in the world; we have learned a lot.”