A pair of own goals and scores from Gerard Pique and Luis Suarez have Barcelona looking set to reach the Champions League semi-finals following a 4-1 win over AS Roma in their quarterfinal first leg on Wednesday night at the Camp Nou in Barcelona.
The visitors were befallen by misfortune as Daniele De Rossi and Kostas Manolas deposited balls into their own net, which was then followed by a Pique tap-in. Yet a late Edin Dzeko goal gave hope to Roma, only for Suarez to respond with a strike to hand Barcelona the healthy advantage ahead of next week's return leg in the Italian capital.
Sergio Busquets returned from injury just in time for manager Ernesto Valverde, who slotted in the midfielder, along with Semedo, thus pushing Sergi Roberto into more of a midfielding role.
Few are the teams that take the pitch at the Camp Nou and look to take the game to Barcelona, but that's what Roma did to start, and they had a strong shout for an early penalty when Edin Dzeko went down in the area after a shove from behind by Semedo, but Dutch referee Danny Makkelie disagreed.
The chances began to come for Barcelona and a great strike from Ivan Rakitic almost made its way through a sea of legs right in front of goal, but it banged off the post and the subsequent rebound was blasted over the crossbar by Luis Suarez.
The Roma resistance could only last so long, and the visitors were hugely unlucky that the Barcelona breakthrough came via an own goal. Andres Iniesta received a pass and looked to play a quick pass to Messi that De Rossi looked to cut off, only for the ball to carom off the inside of his boot and go into goal for the 1-0 Barcelona lead.
To their credit Roma did not get down, and there was a second penalty shout when Samuel Umtiti fouled Lorenzo Pellegrini right on the edge of the area. Roma wanted a penalty but Makkelie indicated that the foul came outside the box, and the resulting free-kick was a harmless blast into the wall.
Roma kept plugging away though. Seconds into the second-half, Diego Perotti was left unmarked in front of the Barcelona goal with a free header but perhaps had too much to think about it and guided his header wide.
Barcelona regained their sharpness as the second-half wore on they would get their 2-0 lead thanks to another own goal. Rakitic played a deep cross into the area and pressure
from Umtiti led to an own goal from Kostas Manolas, who saw the Rakitic cross bounce off his leg, off the post and back off him again before trickling over the line over the line.
With Roma tired and feeling frustrated from the own goals, the match reached the point when Barcelona like to start pouring in goals against opponents, and Pique was happy to oblige as a deflected Suarez shot fell perfectly for the centre-back to push into net for the 3-0 advantage.
Roma never threw in the towel though and even after Marc-Andre ter Stegen made a soaring save to deny Defrel, the visitors would deservedly get their goal when Perotti found a well-positioned Dzeko and the former Manchester City man beat Ter Stegen for the precious away goal and a 3-1 scoreline.
Just as the door was creaking open for Roma, Barcelona slammed it shut once again as Suarez struck late to extend the lead to 4-1. The Roma defence failed to clear their lines and the Uruguayan pounced on Federico Fazio's poor touch to round out the scoreline.
4.- Barcelona: Ter Stegen; Semedo, Pique, Umtiti, Jordi Alba; Busquets (Paulinho, min. 67); Sergi Roberto (Andre Gomes, min. 83), Rakitic, Iniesta (Denis Suarez, min. 85); Luis Suarez, Messi.
1.- Roma: Alisson; Florenzi (El Shaarawy, min. 73), Manolas, Fazio, Kolarov; Peres, De Rossi (Defrel, min. 77), Strootman; Pellegrini, Dzeko, Perotti.
Goals: 1-0, min. 38: De Rossi (og); 2-0, min. 56: Manolas (og); 3-0, min. 59: Pique; 3-1, min. 80: Dzeko; 4-1, min 87: Suarez
Referee: Danny Makkelie (Netherlands). Yellow Cards: Kolarov (Min. 44) for Roma, Strootman (Min. 86) for Roma
Red cards: None
Stadium: Camp Nou
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