Barcelona came from a goal down against Atletico Madrid in the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final clash, with striker Luis Suarez grabbing a second-half brace to seal the comeback.
The South American could have been sent off earlier in the game for an off-the-ball incident, but his ruthlessness in front of goal has been unrivalled for the Catalans this season.
Underused all evening but delivered when called upon
Suarez hardly had a touch of the ball in the first-half, but showed exactly what he can do when given the ball in the box. He made the least amount of touches of any Barcelona outfield player, did nothing to create chances or bring the ball forward, but he found the back of the net twice where others missed the target on multiple occasions.
The likes of Lionel Messi and Neymar equally shared 12 chances on Tuesday night against Atleti, and registered just one of those efforts on target. Suarez has half the chances either player had, and put two on target, both of which were goals. Neymar and Messi were regular receiving the ball in the second-half, but weren’t making their mark on the game.
Suarez an economic striker
Neymar did threaten all night for Barcelona, consistently causing Atletico’s defence problems, but for all this touches and tally of dribbles at the Nou Camp, two shots coming from single touches was all it took to turn a defeat into a win. Suarez has shown all season how deadly he can be with half-chances, so questions continue to be asked why he doesn’t see more of the ball.
Barcelona often ignore his excellent movement off-the-ball in favour of retaining possession or building attacks from out wide, but when they include the Uruguayan in their attacking moves, more often than not he’s finished them off with aplomb. Suarez is the Catalans’ top scorer this season and he’s surpassed the likes of Messi and Neymar with less shots than the pair.
Messi at risk of not finishing as the club’s top scorer
Suarez is ruthless in front of goal, but isn’t given as many opportunities in games to showcase this. A lot of times, his goals come from individual brilliance rather than being on the end of a free-flowing move, which is a waste of his talents. His teammates have more than acknowledged his form, however, expressing their dismay for the striker missing out on UEFA’s Team of the Year.
He was underused against Atleti, but still managed to turn the game on its head when the chances came his way. The Barcelona attacking trio are the most potent in the world, but if they allowed their top scorer more of the ball, he could register even more prolific returns for goals.