Score: A.S Roma 1 FC Barcelona 4FT
The day is finally here it’s been a long wait since the draw was done. As Roma are set to take on Barcelona for the Champions League quarter-final with a spot in the semi-final at stake. These two teams faced off in the group stage a few years ago in those two games Roma did very well and not very well getting a draw against Barcelona as well as getting destroyed six one. It has been a long wait for Roma they have not been to the quarterfinals since 2008 Roma have been underestimated throughout this competition they got out of the group of death and got past Shakhtar Donetsk to get to the stage while Barcelona won their group and got past Chelsea in the round of 16 to set up this much anticipated match between Roma and Barcelona. Barcelona would be heavy favorites going into the game and rightly so having one this competition 4 different times. In the first half Roma were given extremely bad luck at least at the start having a clear penalty denied in the opening 10 minutes. A large part of the first half Barcelona dominated Possession looks good coming forward but the defensive strategy for Roma worked really well as they limited clear-cut chances from Barcelona. It took Barcelona almost the entire half to get something concrete unfortunately Roma would get rotten luck once again as Daniele De Rossi scored an own goal to give Barcelona the one 2-0 lead however Roma Captain did exactly what he was supposed to do it was just a bit unlucky. Prior to half Roma had another penalty denied as the Barcelona officiating at the Camp nou still hasn’t seemed to have changed. In the second half Roma did a little better but they could only hold the Barcelona for so long as they dominated the second half unfortunately Roma scored another own goal before pique scored a tap in Dzeko was able to get an away goal but it was as good as over as Luis Suarez scored a late goal to pick up the 4-1 victory as Roma strong half turned into a Roman nightmare the two missed calls appeared to be crucial as Barcelona grab a massive Advantage going into the second leg.
Eusebio Di Francesco and Roma make dramatic changes here ahead of this massive game against Barcelona. Roma still operating in the 4-3-3 formation would make modifications for a more of an defensive lineup despite having some very attacking minded players in the team. In a goal as usual would be Brazil’s number one Alison Becker who currently in the top 3 for clean sheets in Italian football he has been one of the best goalkeepers in World football so far this season. A slight change to Roma’s acustom back four. At left-back would be the Serbian International Alex Kolarov who has been one of the best at his position this season. Beside him would be Roma Center back Partnership of Federico Fazio and Kostas Manolas been occupying the right back spot coming in for Alexandra Florenzi would be Bruno Peres who played a massive role and Roma’s qualification for the quarter-finals. In Roma’s Midfield there would only be one change from the weekend. In the central Midfield spot would be Roma Captain Danielle De Rossi beside him on the left side would be Kevin Strootman who looks to bounce back after a dreadful performance on Saturday. Then finally on the right side coming in for Radja Nainggolan who won’t start due to injury would be the return of Lorenzo Pellegrini to the starting lineup. Then a very interesting attack for Roma. On the left wing would be one of Roma’s best players this season Diego Perotti. On the opposite side occupying the right wing would be Alexandro Florenzi who moves up to forward as he is usually the team’s right back. I think it’s an interesting move because he has history against Barcelona scoring a really long range goal last time these two teams played each other. Then up front as the main Striker perhaps the most important player for Roma would be the Bosnian Edin Dzeko who was looking to give Roma an important away gold. Then as always a strong bench for the Italians with the likes of Gerson El Shaarawy and Radja Mainggolan available.
After preparations and predictions for this highly anticipated match on this European night between 2 the best clubs from their respective countries. A battle between Italy and Spain as Roma take on Barcelona. It was time to get the ball rolling as this European night kicks off. Could Roma pull the upset or where we going to see when most people expect. As expected out of the gate Barcelona controlled possession with quick passing to drive the ball forward. The Possession Advantage was always going favor Barcelona Roma early in the game needed to execute a defensive strategy to limit the opportunities in the first half that was their responsibility. Slowing down one of the most potent attacks and European football was always going to be a tough task limiting chances from Leo Messi is almost too much to ask given the quality of the player. Roma needed to force him into an off night what he doesn’t have many of. Early in the game Barca pressurized but their defensive setup and strategy was working surprisingly well leaving Barcelona frustrated during many moments. Roma kept Barcelona out of the dangerous area for quite some time aside a Luis Suarez goal that was ruled offside. Just as the game past the 10-minute it had looked as if Roma could take the shock lead when Edin Dzeko was brought down into the box and what was an absolute stone wall clear penalty. However it was not given as the the referee clearly ignored it as most do In this Stadium. This is why VAR needs to be introduced in the Champions League there’s no way you can look at that play multiple times and still believe it’s not a penalty. After the controversy Leo Messi tried to give a Barcelona the early lead but his shot on goal was less than Stellar as it went straight to Alisson as of Roma’s goalkeeper made the save. Barcelona continue to run possession but Roma’s defense was up for the challenge Roma were trying to hold off Barcelona as long as they possibly could knowing the gravity of the match. The back four played really well cohesively together knowing what is infront of them it’s a very tough thing to do especially if you catch Leo Messi or Luis Suarez on their day. Roma’s attack was very limited but they had a fair few chances to get something done but struggled. Barcelona got themselves a very real chance a little while later when Ivan Rakitic hit the post coming off a Barcelona corner after the Croatian International hit a wonderful strike from the side of the box. As Roma were bailed out by the post. After the ball came off the post Luis Suarez tried to score the follow-up but his touch was poor as the ball Flew Over the goal. Barcelona were coming but Alisson and the Roma defense we’re doing all the right things to limit opportunities. As it got deeper into the first half the Barcelona chances started coming more frequently despite the Valiant efforts from the Roma Defenders. Near the half-hour mark Leo Messi attempted to set up Leo Suarez for the goal but Alisson made a superb save to keep the game even. Barcelona found it especially difficult to crack Roma’s defensive setup but you still felt that Barcelona were coming because of how aggressive they can be when they’re out running. Just as the game hit the half-hour Mark the great Andreas Iniesta saw his deep strike coming off a corner Coast over the goal. Barcelona were not at their best they were getting chances but they weren’t making the best of them Roma didn’t especially good job on Messi who mutually was a non-factor in the first 45 minutes. Then unfortunately in the 38th minute after a very strong defense and masterclass from Roma they would be hit with some tragic bad luck. Barcelona’s attack and quick passing explosive approach forced Roma to make a mistake as Roma’s Captain Daniele De Rossi try to clear a dangerous ball that was hit into the box and results he hit it into his own net and very harsh resolve on Roma. However it was not entirely his fault if that ball had got past him Messi was there alone on an island the goal probably wouldn’t have been avoided. However a moment of devastation to Roma team that had done such a great job on the defensive side of the ball. The non call penalty looked to be be crucial after that opening goal. Speaking all that penalty that was not given Roma was yet again hit with some Barcelona refereeing controversy. Almost immediately after Lorenzo Pellegrini was brought down in the box right on the line. The referee decided to give a free kick despite the that he was brought down while in the Box. yet another penalty that was not given to Roma as the refereeing stigma about away teams at Barcelona was even more proven with Roma second penalty that wasn’t given. That would be the end of the first half as controversy and a Lady Luck for Barcelona sees them with the one-goal lead going into the second half.
Roma’s Bruno Peres and Koostas Manolas making things tough on Leo Messi in the first half
A first half that featured two penalties that were not given to Roma and an unfortunate own goal fuels the frustration by the Italians. However it must be said that Roma played an extremely tough opening 45 minutes of football against one of the best teams in the world. Their defensive strategy worked wonders Barcelona rarely looked dangerous only on a few occasions did they really look threatening at all. Not to mention Leo Messi the world’s best player was mutually a non-factor against a very tough Roma defense. The question on my mind was how long can they keep it up Barcelona is capable of scoring five goals against any team Roma had to hold them off for another 45 minutes A 1-0 loss Barcelona going into leg 2 will be an excellent result for Roma but that’s easier said than done. Out of the gate to start the second half Roma had the chance of the game with a real opportunity to equalize. When Alexandro Florenzi hit an extremely well hit cross from the wing Diego Perotti connected with his head in and near perfect executed play has header didn’t have the touch necessary as the ball went wide. Up to that point Diego Perotti had a been Roma’s best player so it was very frustrating and extremely disappointing when it didn’t hit the back of the net. The Possession was still being heavily dominated by Barcelona which is why the Miss had so much significance at the time. Minutes later Jordi Alba took a strike but Alisson made an excellent save denying a Barcelona second goal. Roma tried to respond as Bruno Peres set up Alexandro Florenzi as the Italian International hit a shot from the side of the box that came very close just missing the target. Barcelona’s attack came in numbers on many occasions Messi would be denied once again by Alisson Roma kept him quiet all game but sadly and Roma’s luck was just about to worsen. In the 55th minute Messi and Ivan rakitic on a brilliant corner as a Rakitic hit a brilliant cross his initial shot comes back off the post hitting Kostas manolas in the process as the ball crosses the line in what was another own goal. To give Roma the to 2-0 lead Much like the first goal Roma can’t really be blamed for what happened they had an extremely hard time dealing with Barcelona’s brilliant sequence. Immediately after Leo Messi and Ivan Rakitic try to beat Rome again but this time it was saved by Alison . Barcelona kept on coming as they were about to unleash an insurmountable lead. In the 59th minute Messi has a moment of brilliance as his Sublime pass gets to Suarez who was in a dangerous position the Uruguayan takes a shot that is saved however the Brazilian keeper cannot get to the rebound as Pique puts away the sitter for a third Barcelona goal to make it 3-0. Those two penalty no calls are really looking crucial now. If the referee makes the right call earlier in the game the situation might be completely different. Roma would make their first substitution of the game as of Maxime Gonalons replaced Lorenzo Pellegrini who I thought considering the circumstances Roma also brought in Stephan El Shaarawy and Gregorio Defrel within 10 minutes of each other. At this point of the game Barcelona play possession football not doing that much aggressively sitting on their three-goal lead. Tersteegen gave Roma a gift but made up for it with a superb save on a Defrel strike. Then with 12 minutes to go Diego Perotti got into extremely dangerous area putting barca defenders on skates as he hit a well hit shot from Deep but tersteegen showed his world class abilities by Saving the excellent shot. Roma had bombarded with bad luck and no calls for the entire match. In the 80th minute Roma would have their moment. Diego Perotti who had the ball right outside the box who had been terrific all evening finally broke through as he sent in a excellent ball into Edin Dzeko who got his foot to it putting it into the bottom corner to give Roma the away-goal making it 3-1 It would be Edin Dzeko’s 19th goal of the season. Then in the closing moments of the match Roma dug themselves in a bigger hole as a defensive error led to Luis Suarez scoring a fourth for Barcelona. A match highlighted by Barcelona luck and controversies with two Roma penalties not given cease the Spanish Giants get half their foot in the door all this semi-final Barcelona weren’t at their best but they probably deserve to win but the margin wasn’t Justified.
Dzeko gives Roma brief happiness in a night of misery
It turned out to be a disappointing night of controversy and Unfortunate Events. Going into the game I don’t think many people but Roma had a realistic chance to win this game I would say I’m included in that. I felt that the difference in talent and ability would be too much for Roma to handle. A game that was a tale of two halves for Roma. Roma played exceptionally well in the first half their defensive strategy seem to limit Messi and Barcelona despite a lack of offense defensively Barcelona were handled by the Italian defense. Early in it was really unfortunate because minutes into the game Roma were denied a clear-cut penalty without a question no doubt about it. That missed call completely changed the structure of the game because instead of being one up that’s an even game if Roma scored a penalty going forward its a different game. Barcelona would eventually break through with an own goal. Roma had another penalty not given right before the end of the half so you’re looking at two potential penalties that Roma could have scored so instead they would be 2-1 up after the first half instead of 1-0 down. I’m not a bitter person but the Camp nou for the better part of a decade has given unfavorable officiating towards Barcelona opposition. It’s been like this for years and I think it’s unfair calls go against Roma at the stadio olimpico sometimes even harsh ones so I find it a little disrespectful that Barcelona gets special treatment look at the amount of penalties that haven’t given against them and the last five years that tells the whole story. Penlties not being given changes the entire outline the game Roma could only hold a Barcelona for so long as it all collapsed in the second half Barcelona taking advantage and getting luck on another own goal. Dzeko did get one back late in the second half but it ended up being and ultimately meaningless goal as Barcelona came away with the big win completely setting themselves up for the semi-final. I’ll say this though Barcelona were deserving winners despite the controversy surrounding some of the calls they deserve to win but the margin was a bit harsh. Roma didn’t do well in the second half and that cost them and made some mistakes and some important moments that’s what I have to say. I was too tempted to give the man of the match to on one of the Defenders for their incredible performance during the first half. but on this occasion I think it has to go to Diego Perotti he did mutually all of the work on the Dzeko goal setting him up nicely and aside from his bad Miss coming out of the second half I thought he did well and put Roma in good position whenever he had the chance. This loss is unfortunate and Roma have practically no chance to turn this around but Roma still need to learn from the mistakes and take it into the Florentina and match this weekend. After the game Dzeko said this in regards to the penalty not given. “The penalty could have changed the game. The referee needs to have the courage to give a penalty against Barcelona, because we are also in the quarter-finals and all of the teams here have earned the right to play.” He couldnt of said it any better Roma earned their spot to be here this doesn’t give Barcelona the right to Play GOD.
Man Of The Match: Diego Perotti (6)
Next Match: Vs Fioretina Saturday, April 7th ,2018
BY THE NUMBERS
On Target: 3
Pass Accuracy: 80%
On Target: 9
Pass Accuracy: 88%