Only Champions League title will do for Barça as they cruise into semi-finals
Over 54,000 fans packed into Camp Nou to watch the blaugrana swat Roma aside 5-1
FC Barcelona have cruised into the semi-finals of the Women's Champions League for the fifth consecutive campaign after defeating AS Roma 5-1 at the Camp Nou, giving the Catalans an aggregate victory of 6-1 in the tie.
54,667 fans enjoyed the display of dominance in the Camp Nou cauldron as Barça swatted aside their Italian rivals with a degree of relative ease.
It's shaping up as another season with only one objective that can satisfy Barcelona, and anything less will be something of a disappointment: winning their second European crown.
After a perfect season domestically last year winning every game, the blaugrana are so far en route to replicating that absurdly brilliant achievement, with 23 wins from 23 games in the league so far and 99 goals scored with only 5 conceded. The only blot in their copybook this year has come from an administrative error: Barça cannot retain the Copa de la Reina this year after they were kicked out of the tournament for fielding an illegible player in their on-pitch 9-0 win against Osasuna.
Last season ended with a bitter taste in the mouth, though. May's Champions League final defeat to Lyon showed the Catalans that despite the perfect domestic season, the thrilling attendance world records, and breezing past some of Europe's best teams, there was still a step up they had to make.
The team has been shaken up again this year in hopes of finding that edge. The English pair of Keira Walsh and Lucy Bronze have slotted into the first XI after arriving shortly after last summer's European Championships victory, while 19-year-old Salma Paralluelo looked electric at times against Roma.
The players who remain from last season also look at the top of their game as the team heads into the final crucial few months of the campaign. Fridolina Rolfö has had an imperious week, scoring the only goal against Real Madrid on the weekend and two of Barça's first three on Wednesday evening. Mapi León remains a stalwart at the back while still providing a constant threat with her crosses and long-range shots. Asisat Oshoala has come back from injury looking as good as ever, while Aitana Bonmatí's midfield performances have meant that Barça have somehow not missed two-time Ballon d'Or winner Alexia Putellas too much.
The team are looking extremely strong, but there's no doubt that tougher tasks than this spirited Roma side await for Barça if they are to go all the way and lift the trophy in Eindhoven this spring.
Camp Nou return for former captain Losada
Wednesday evening also saw a special return to Catalonia for Roma midfielder Vicky Losada, who was club captain at the time of their one and only Champions League title to date in 2020/21.
However, Losada didn't exactly get the occasion she deserved, as she was substituted off at half-time without returning from the dressing room, meaning the home crowd did not get to give her the ovation they would have liked to in her first ever game in the Camp Nou.
In injury time just before the final whistle, though, the loudest fans behind one of the goals did make sure to get their tribute in before the game was done, with a chant of "Vicky Vicky!"