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Barcelona teach Santos a lesson in Japan

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It was meant to be Messi against Neymar in Japan, but when it came down to it there was no competition. Barcelona and the elusive Argentine were too good for their opponents and ran away to a 4-0 win in Yokohama, with little wasted effort.

In what was the biggest margin of victory in the year's showpiece game since 1951, Barcelona rubbed home their advantage with a convincing display that saw them coasting at 3-0 by half-time.

Questions will be asked in Brazil about the tactics employed by Muricy Ramalho and the frailty of the Santos defence, but some of Barcelona's football was a delight to watch.

Averaging 75% of possession throughout, goals from Lionel Messi and Xavi had put Barcelona two-up before Santos had even got started in the game as they struggled to cope with the Spaniards in midfield.

Despite the foot coming off the pedal, Cesc Fabregas was able to make it 3-0 just before half-time, as the ball fall to the former-Arsenal man in a penalty box scramble, before he tucked the ball past Rafael.

To their credit, Santos gave the game a better shot in the second-half, but Barcelona were cruising from the half-hour mark. Borges and Neymar had good chances, but the Spaniards could have made it six or seven in the early minutes of the half.

In the end, it was just one more goal added by Lionel Messi that capped off the performance. Daniel Alves won the ball back in midfield and found his side's playmaker, who rounded Rafael in style before tucking home.

It had threatened to be embarrassing for Santos and in the end it was kept to a reasonable scoreline. But, there is little doubt that Barcelona are deserved FIFA Club World Cup winners 2011.

 

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