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AS Roma v FC Barcelona: Title defence starts with a point (1-1)

FC Barcelona began the Champions League with a 1-1 draw against AS Roma. Barça players deserved more after dominating most of the game, but it was a convincing display that might have ended very differently with a little more luck in the goal area. The Catalans began the game having control of the ball. A goal came after 21 minutes of play when Rakitic crossed from the right and Suárez headed home practically from the goal-line. But the lead only lasted for ten minutes. Just after the half hour point, Florenzi got the Italians back on level terms with an extraordinary goal from over 50 metres out. Barça stayed in control of the match despite the Roma goal, but there was no further scoring. The lowest point in the match was Rafinha’s injury after he was taken out from behind and carried off the pitch in a stretcher.

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17 September 2015 10:54 AM

by

MIKE ROBERTS

Barcelona (CNA).- FC Barcelona opened the 2015/16 Champions League with a 1-1 draw against AS Roma. The Catalans began the game having control of the ball. A goal came after 21 minutes of play when Rakitic crossed from the right and Suárez headed home practically from the goal-line. But the lead only lasted for ten minutes. Just after the half hour point, Florenzi got the Italians back on level terms with an extraordinary goal from over 50 metres out. Barça stayed in control of the game despite the Roma goal, but there was no more scoring. Rafinha’s injury was a low point in the match. All in all, then, a hard-earned point for FC Barcelona in Rome and next up it’s Bayer Leverkusen at the Camp Nou on 29th of September .


In the same stadium where they won their third continental title in 2009, FC Barcelona opened the 2015/16 Champions League with a 1-1 draw at AS Roma of Serie A. The players might feel that they deserved more after dominating most of the play, but it was a convincing display that might have ended very differently with a little more fortune in front of goal.

Wearing their blue Night Rising  strip for the first time, Luis Enrique’s side made their intentions clear right from the start, with Messi powering a shot from outside of the area after just four minutes. Suárez with a header and Messi again had also come close before the game was even ten minutes old. It was relentless stuff from the Catalans and after 21 minutes, they were rewarded for such an ambitious approach when Rakitic crossed from the right and Suárez headed home from practically on the goal-line.

A short-lived lead

It was spectacular stuff from Barça, but the lead only lasted for ten minutes. Just after the half hour mark,Florenzi got the Italians back on level terms with an absolute screamer from over 50 metres out.

Seemingly unfazed by that setback, Barça kept pushing, with Messi determined to get his team back ahead on the night of his 100th Champions League appearance. Before the first 45 minutes were over, the Argentinian had sent one shot over the bar and seen another saved by Szczesny, while at the other end Ter Stegen was called upon to deny Nainggolan. But there would no further scoring before half-time came with things all-square at 1-1.

Injury woes

In the very first play after the restart, Szczesny made a great save from Messi. But his involvement in the game came to an unfortunate end moments later when he injured his hand in a clash with Suárez. The Polish keeper was replaced by De Sanctis, while Barça would soon have injury concerns of their own. Moments after coming on for Rakitic, Rafinha was on the receiving end of a heavy challenge from Nainggolan. The Brazilian was stretchered off, and Mascherano took his place.

Most of the play was devoid of the frenzied drama of the first half, with the two sides locked in an intense battle in midfield and very little in the way of goalmouth action. But things sprung to life in the final quarter of an hour, with Suárez just failing to finish off a sweet one-two with Neymar and Messi following an impeccable piece of control by sending the ball onto the Roma crossbar.

Final flurry

The home side hadn’t had their final say either, with Dzeko having a long-range pop with two minutes on the clock, but Ter Stegen was perfectly positioned to deal with it. Then, with the game well into injury time, Barça had three consecutive chances to snatch a last-gasp winner. Gerard Piqué’s header went wide by the narrowest of margins, Manolas cleared Jordi Alba’s effort off the goal-line and a Sergi Roberto strike from the edge of the area was saved by De Sanctis.

All in all then, a hard-earned point for FC Barcelona in Rome, and next up it’s Bayer Leverkusen at the Camp Nou on September 29.

 

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  • Suárez put Barça ahead after 21 minutes (by FCB)

  • Suárez put Barça ahead after 21 minutes (by FCB)