Barcelo, April 5: FC Barcelo look assured of advancing to the Champions League semifils after inflicting a 4-1 defeat on AS Roma in the first leg of the quarterfil clash.
Though the Italian side were at least partly the architects of their own defeat, falling behind 2-0 on a pair of own goals here on Wednesday, reports Efe.
The 90,000-plus at Camp Nou rose to cheer Lionel Messi before the start of the contest to honour Barcelo superstar for his recent 100th goal in Champions League play.
But after the kickoff, the hosts struggled to find their rhythm for the first half-hour or so as the Roma defenders sought to put maximum pressure on Messi, Andres Iniesta and Sergio Busquets.
And while Barcelo goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen had little to do, the visitors made inroads and the home side were fortute the referee didn’t award a pelty in the 9th minute when Roma’s Edin Dzeko went down in the box after a tussle with Nelson Semedo.
The opportunities grew more frequent for Barcelo as the minutes passed and Ivan Rakitic’s low shot after a corner seemed to be headed into the net until it bounced off the post. Later, Roma keeper Alisson had to make a stop on Luis Suarez.
In the 38th minute, Messi and Iniesta worked a give-and-go to nudge the ball into the box and defender Daniele De Rossi’s clumsy attempt to clear sent the ball into his own net to make it 1-0 for Barcelo.
Diego Perotti could have equalised for Roma early in the second half, but his header went wide.
With the match approaching the hour mark, Roma again fell victim to bad luck, as Rakitic’s ball across the front of the six-yard box took a triple deflection - hitting defender Kostas Manolas, Barcelo’s Samuel Umtiti and Manolas a second time - before finding its way past Alisson to make it 2-0.
Two minutes later, the Barcelo advantage increased to 3-0 when Gerard Pique knocked in the rebound after Alisson made the initial stop on Suarez.
With Barcelo hungry for more and Roma desperate to get an away goal, the match bust wide open and both teams created chances.
Dzeko put the visitors on the board with a strike in the 80th minute, only for Luis Suarez to end his 10-match Champions League scoring drought with a goal in the 87th minute. IANS