Thursday, December 15, 2011

David Villa Breaks Leg in Club World Cup Semis

Barcelona cruised to a 4-0 win in the Club World Cup Semifinals against Al-Sadd (Qatar), but it came at a high price as striker David Villa sustained a broken leg in the win and is out indefinitely. Villa was replaced by 22 year old Chilean striker Alexis Sánchez while 20 year old Isaac Cuenca also saw time up top in the match. Villa hadn't been in top form this year coming off the bench nearly as often as he started in La Liga play, but he's still been a strong finisher netting 5 goals in league play and 3 more in the Champions League. His loss will put a lot more pressure on the youngsters up front as they try to keep pace with Real Madrid moving forward.
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As for the match, Adriano scored a pair of goals in the first half while Seydou Keita and Maxwell each scored after the intermission as Barcelona won easily in advancing to the finals. They'll be opposed by Santos FC from Brazil after they knocked off Kashiwa Reysol (Japan) 3-1 in the other semifinal. Brazil's latest sensation, the 19 year old Neymar, opened the scoring while Borges and Danilo added goals in the win.
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The final will be played on Sunday and will feature the highly anticipated matchup of two of South America's biggest stars in Neymar and Lionel Messi. Neymar already has 8 goals for Brazil's senior national team prior to his 20th birthday while scoring 24 for Santos this year in all competitions. While some would say he's ready to be in the same conversation as Messi, he still has a ways to go before he surpasses the Barcelona striker from Argentina. While Messi hasn't dominated at the international level (just 19 goals in 66 appearances), his contributions at the club level have been unparalleled. Messi scored 53 goals last season for Barcelona including 12 in the Champions League and 31 in La Liga, and already has another 27 goals this year in just 25 games. And at 24 years old, he's still really only just getting started. That said, a win for Neymar and Santos would certainly close the gap between the two and make for a more interesting conversation.

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