Luis Suarez’s scored all three goals as Barcelona beat Guangzhou Evergrande to book their place in the final of the Club World Cup this afternoon.
The European champions will face River Plate in Sunday’s final after the Argentinian side saw off Sanfrecce Hiroshima earlier today.
Guangzhou went into today’s match in Yokohama on a 28-match unbeaten run in all competitions and they made life difficult for Barca in the early stages.
Munir El-Haddadi squandered Barca’s first two chances, but Suarez broke the deadlock shortly before half time. With Lionel Messi and Neymar both unavailable, Suarez was the focal point of the attack and he smashed home the opener after Ivan Rakitic’s shot was spilled.
Guangzhou’s best chance of the match came moments after Suarez’s opener when Elkeson’s header was palmed away by Claudio Bravo.
Suarez then doubled the Catalan club’s lead five minutes after the break, collecting a precise pass from Andres Iniesta before picking out the top corner.
It was game, set and match midway through the second period as Suarez completed his hat-trick from the penalty spot after Munir tumbled in the area.
Suarez now has three hat-tricks in Barcelona colours and he became only the second player, after Pele, to net a treble in an intercontinental club tournament. Barca, winners of the tournament in 2009 and 2011, will become the first team to win the Club World Cup three times if they defeat River Plate on Sunday.