FC Barcelona had to settle for a draw in their Champions League opener against Italian giants AS Roma as the game ended with a 1-1 scoreline courtesy of goals from Luis Suarez and Alessandro Florenzi.
The La Liga leaders took the lead in the 21st minute after Suarez headed home Ivan Rakitic’s cross at the far corner. But Florenzi’s astonishing strike from the halfway line at the right flank just 10 minutes later brought Roma right back into the game as the sides shared spoils in their inaugural game of the season.
It was a special occasion for Lionel Messi as he made his 100th Champions League appearance but the Argentine couldn’t make his mark on the game. Inspiring his side to a 2-1 victory against Atletico Madrid after coming on as a substitute last week, the Barca ace influenced the play and came very close to finding the net in the second half but saw his effort bounce off the bar.
Roma looked an effective side on the counter throughout the game. The Serie A runners-up defended with a narrow shape and used Edin Dzeko’s strong presence up front to hold the ball and unleash Mohammad Salah on the counter. Meanwhile, Barcelona dominated the play as usual and looked for pockets of space to penetrate the stubborn defence of the Italians.
And while Roma looked as the likelier side to open the scoring, Barca took the lead in the 21st minute through Luis Suarez who positioned himself at the far post to head Rakitic’s cross into the back of the net and put his side ahead.
But the magical moment arrived just ten minutes later when Roma’s right back Florenzi darted forward towards the halfway line on the right flank and noticed goalkeeper Ter Stegen to be off his line and audaciously attempted a lob almost from the touchline that sailed over the goalkeeper's head and found the far corner to get Roma back into the game.
First half ended with the scoreline at 1-1 and it stayed the same in the second half as well. Both sides lost players to injuries as Roma goalkeeper Szczesny and Catalan midfielder Rafinha had to be taken off. Barcelona continued to influence the game and created chances as well but were denied by some quality defending by the Italians.
Here are the goals from the match:Published 17 Sep 2015, 09:21 IST