FC Barcelona began the defence of their UCL title at the same venue where they had won the title in 2009. The match witnessed a number of milestones as Lionel Messi played his 100th Champions League game for the club and Luis Suarez played his 50th game for the Blaugranas. The match also saw Luis Enrique returning to the place where he had a rather forgettable time as manager.
The side from Catalonia dominated proceedings right from the start. However, the goal came in rather controversial circumstances with Lucas Digne being fouled in the build-up.
Roma were defensive throughout and the midfield was the culprit as the side gave away possession way too easily on a number of occasions. The goal from Florenzi came as a breath of fresh air for Rudi Garcia’s side as they tried to hit Barcelona on the break a few times thereafter.
Here are the player ratings:
Wojciech Szczesny- 6/10
The ex-Gunners goalie had very little to do with most of Lionel Messi’s shots going over the bar. He did make a good save in the 38th minute from a Lionel Messi effort and was supported on that occasion by his captain. There was nothing he could have done to stop the goal. He had to be replaced in the 50th minute of the game after having suffered an injury.
However, he had a nervous moment in the first half when Barcelona players appealed for a penalty as television replays showed that the Pole had indeed fouled Luis Suarez. Thankfully for him and Roma, the referee wasn’t interested.
Alessandro Florenzi- 8.5/10 (Man of the Match)
Florenzi can well be credited with setting the match alight with an absolute blinder in the 31st minute. Not just the distance, but the angle from which the shot was taken clearly made it incredible. The right back was decent in the defence as well as he prevented Neymar from making inroads time and again.
Kostas Manolas- 7/10
Manolas did not really have much to deal with. He was rock solid throughout and unlike his partner in defence, wasn’t called into action on too many occasions in the first half. A prominent moment was in the last minute of the game when he cleared a Jordi Alba shot that was heading towards the goal. The Greek however could have done a bit more in preventing the goal from Suarez.
Antonio Rudiger- 8/10
Along with Manolas, Rudiger was solid at the heart of the Roma defence. There were constant blocks from shots by Messi and Suarez. It would not be an exaggeration to say the Roma and especially Szczesny would have had more to worry had it not been for this man.
Lucas Digne- 6/10
The French left back had a mixed outing. He was decent at the back and also made some runs forward but was poor with his passing. Further he wasn’t able to contain the likes of Messi and also faced some problems dealing with Sergio Roberto. He was fouled in the build up to Luis Suarez’s goal and hence was in the midst of some controversy.
Seydou Keita- 6/10
The former Barcelona man was nowhere as good as he normally is. There were a few wrong passes and some poor clearances as well. However, his experience shone through as Barcelona had far lesser shots on the Roma goal than what they would have liked.
Daniele de Rossi- 6.5/10
The captain didn’t have his greatest game but he was certainly impressive. He led from the front dropping back and supporting the defence. There were some great tackles from him. All in all, de Rossi will surely be satisfied with his performance and the team’s result.
Radja Nainggolan- 5.5/10
The highly rated midfielder had an outing he would like to forget. At the start of the game, there were signs that he would deliver but as the game progressed, the signs diminished. He committed a few fouls and got a yellow card in the second half.
Iago Falque- 6.5/10
This young winger was in the thick of things throughout the game. He might not have been brilliant going forward but helped out at the back. His performance in the second half was much better as he made a few runs forward and threatened the Barcelona defence.
Mohamed Salah- 6.5/10
The on loan Egyptian player from Chelsea was a constant threat to the Barcelona defence as they weren’t always able to contend with his speed. Salah was integral in all of Roma’s counter attacks but his runs didn’t really lead to anything. He tried to do a lot on his own and in the process was below par.
Edin Dzeko- 5/10
Dzeko had a disappointing night as he failed to threaten the likes of Pique and Mathieu. He was exciting as Roma tried to hit the opposition on the break but his final passes let the team down.
Morgan de Sanctis- 6.5/10
The former Roma number one came in for the injured Szczesny and will be happy with his performance. He made some crucial saves late on in the game and also had the woodwork to thank as a Lionel Messi shot late on hit the post.
Juan Iturbe- 5/10
He came on late for Falque and did not really have much of an impact on the game.
Vassilis Torosidis- 6.5/10
He continued where Florenzi left off. There was tough tackling from his side as he prevented any of the Barcelona forwards from making any efforts on his goal.
Marc-Andre Ter Stegen- 4.5/10
The German goalie will have to take the blame for Roma’s goal. He was far away from his line and eventually had to pay. Apart from that, there wasn’t much for him to do.
Sergio Roberto- 6/10
The young right back made some promising runs forward and played a few good passes with Rakitic and Messi. However, as Roma were hitting on the break, he was often found to be running back to defend. He would have been happy with his attacking performance today.
Gerrard Pique- 7/10
He was called into action on very few occasions and he handled those with supreme calmness. He had to contend with the likes of Salah and Dzeko and was successful in keeping them in check.
Jeremy Mathieu- 7.5/10
Just like his defensive partner, Mathieu was also successful in dealing with Dzeko and Salah. Further, he made some good runs forward and also played an important pass to Ivan Raitic which eventually led to the goal being scored by Luis Suarez.
Jordi Alba- 7/10
Although he initially had problems dealing with Salah’s pace, he quickly adapted. Like always, Alba was a threat going forward and the Roma defence weren’t always at ease handling him.
Sergio Busquets- 6/10
The Spanish international played some good passes; a few balls over the top of the defence; but nothing of great significance. He had very little to do throughout the game and was content moving the ball around like he always does.
Andres Iniesta- 6/10
The captain also did not have a memorable evening. Like Busquets, he played some good passes here and there but nothing worthy. Unlike his counterpart, Iniesta won’t be too happy with either his performance or the team’s result at the Stadio Olimpico.
Ivan Rakitic- 7.5/10
He was the shining star in the Barcelona midfield. He provided the assist and was a constant threat down the right. His exchange of passes with Roberto was a treat to watch. Rakitic, however, did not last the whole game and was substituted with Rafinha coming in.
He was possibly Barcelona’s biggest disappointment of the night. He was insipid down that left wing and often miscontrolled passes from teammates. Safe to say that this is one outing that the Brazilian will like to forget.
Luis Suarez- 7/10
Apart from the goal, the Uruguayan had very little contribution in the entire game. There were a few threats from his perspective but nothing too dangerous that the Roma defence couldn’t handle.
Lionel Messi- 6.5/10
With Cristiano Ronaldo having scored a hat trick a night before, the pressure was on Messi to deliver in his 100th UCL game. Yet he too had a forgettable night. Most of his shots went over the bar with only one shot hitting the crossbar. It was a forgettable night for Barcelona’s attacking trio.
He replaced Rakitic but hardly lasted as an injury forced him off almost immediately after having coming on.
Javier Mascherano- 5/10
The Argentinian came on for Rafinha and was less than decent. He would even consider himself lucky for not having given away a penalty late in the game.Published 17 Sep 2015, 09:57 IST