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Barcelona strike lucky in Champions League, but Roma snag an away goal

The Blaugrana will like their chances of advancing, but have given Roma a small chance to recover.

Sevilla v FC Barcelona - La Liga Photo by Aitor Alcalde/Getty Images

While Barcelona is certainly a big favorite to make another Champions League semifinal, it’s left the door open a crack for AS Roma by falling asleep for a short spell. The Blaugrana benefitted from a couple of own goals and ran out to a three-goal lead, but allowed Roma to snag an away goal. Barcelona added a late insurance goal, though, and will head to Italy with a 4-1 lead.

Barca’s first big chance came in the 18th minute, when Ivan Rakitic hit the post and Luis Suarez missed following the rebound. Roma mostly limited the Blaugrana to average half-chances otherwise, but gifted Barca an opener in the 38th minute.

Roma legend Daniele De Rossi was the unfortunate defender who poked the ball into his own goal. While lunging to stop the ball from reaching Lionel Messi at the top of the 18-yard box, De Rossi connected with the ball a bit too strongly and blasted it past his own goalkeeper.

The visitors should have gotten back into the quarterfinal tie two minutes later, if not for a mistake by the referee. He judged that Samuel Umtiti fouled Lorenzo Pellegrini on the edge of the penalty area, but replays showed that the foul occurred well within the box and that Roma should have had a penalty.

Right off the halftime kickoff, Roma squandered a glorious opportunity to grab an away goal. Alessandro Florenzi played a perfect cross from the right flank to the far post, finding an unmarked Diego Perotti, but his header was off target.

Barcelona doubled its lead via another own goal in the 55th minute. Messi set up the chance with a cross to Umtiti, who hit the post, but the ball ricocheted off Kostas Manolas and dribbled over the line to put the hosts up, 2-0.

A Barcelona player finally got on the scoreboard four minutes later, and it was an unlikely one — central defender Gerard Pique. He’d stayed forward following a set piece and was in good position to put in a rebound after Alisson saved a shot by Luis Suarez.

But the Blaugrana weren’t able to finish the job without allowing an away goal. Marc-Andre ter Stegen made a pair of sensational saves on Perotti and Gregoire Defrel in the 78th minute, but the Giallorossi found a deserved breakthrough shortly afterwards. Edin Dzeko was the scorer, finishing from the center of the box off an excellent assist from Perotti.

The Italians couldn’t keep the score there, though. Roma pushed forward in search of a second away goal and was punished by Suarez, who scored in the 87th minute after some sloppy defending. Roma failed to clear a bouncing ball away from the box, and Suarez was able to react quickly to score from 12 yards, giving Barcelona a big advantage heading into the second leg.

Barcelona: Ter Stegen; Alba, Umtiti, Pique, Semedo, Busquets (Paulinho 67’), Rakitic, Roberto (Gomes 83’), Iniesta (D. Suarez 85’), Messi, L. Suarez

Goals: De Rossi (OG 38’), Manolas (OG 55’), Pique (59’), L. Suarez (87’)

AS Roma: Alisson; Kolarov, Manolas, Fazio, Peres, De Rossi (Defrel 77’), Pellegrini (Gonalons 61’), Strootman, Perotti, Dzeko, Florenzi (El Shaarawy 72’)

Goals: Dzeko (80’)