Barcelona finished the night with a 4-1 win over AS Roma at Camp Nou. Ernesto Valverde’s men did see a lot of ball, almost 60% of it throughout the 90 but really struggled to get going. The first half was a poor display from both sides with the ball being passed around without any real intent.
However, Barcelona did manage to break the deadlock in the 38th minute. A quick set of one-twos on the edge of the box was about to lay Messi off with an open shot on goal but Danielle De Rossi unfortunate interception somehow ended up at the back of the net. 1-0
Barcelona were out of sorts, but Roma were out of luck. A deeply forgettable first leg sees the Catalan side all-but in the semi-finals, but the scoreline fails to tell the tale.
Otherwise, things did get scrappy inside the penalty box for both teams but all ruled out by the referee. Andres Iniesta, Edin Dzeko, Florenzi and even Messi himself was down in the 18-yard box.
Lorenzo Pellegrini did get tripped at the edge of the penalty area but disappointed by hitting the freekick wide from goal.
The second half started off remarkably well for the visitors as just a few seconds from the whistle, Perotti found himself open on goal. But the header travelled wide from goal, a howler to say the least.
The luck shifted hands again in the 55th minute as Samuel Umtiti’s ricocheted header hit Kostas Manolas and ended up at the back of the net. 2-0.
Gerard Pique made it 3-0 just minutes later from a rebound close to the six-yard box. Luis Suarez looked offside but the Uruguayan drilled in a powerful attempt towards the far post which met a strong right hand of Alisson Becker but fell in front of the Barcelona centre-back.
Edin Dzeko did manage to uplift the mood of the Roma fans with a cool and composed finish in the 80th minute. He turned Alba around with his first touch and netted it past the keeper. 3-1
But it looked like Roma were out to dig their own graves as Maxime Gonalons gifted Barcelona their 4th goal just minutes before the final whistle. 4-1
Here are how the Barcelona players were rated on the night.
Marc Andre ter Stegen – 7/10
Might just be one of the most boring days at work for the keeper. He was sharp however when called upon and completely helpless for the opposition goal.
Nelson Semedo – 6/10
A rare start for the youngster and it looked exactly so. He was clumsy enough to almost give away a penalty in the early minutes. He did press ahead from the right and spread the floor for the Barcelona attacks.
Gerard Pique – 7/10
A goal for him but not a clean sheet. It evens out in the end with the Spaniard putting up a solid display at the back.
Samuel Umtiti – 5/10
Not the best night for the Frenchman. He was indecisive with possession and allowed Dzeko to drift off him on certain occasions.
Jordi Alba – 6/10
A pacey presence on the left but not much of a threat on the offensive end. Battled well against the clever Florenzi and came out on top at the end.
Sergi Roberto – 6/10
Did not provide much in terms of offensive impact but was disciplined in the right wing position and did the needful.
Sergio Busquets – 7/10
A cool and composed head in the middle of the park. Faultless with his precise passing.
Ivan Rakitic – 7/10
He was sharp tonight and was creatively charged. Could have got himself a goal but unfortunately got denied by the woodwork.
Andres Iniesta – 8/10
A midfield masterclass by the veteran. Breezed his way past opposition players and was key in almost every Barcelona attack.
Lionel Messi- 7/10
His fitness concerns showed on the pitch tonight but was clinical enough to force open the Roma defence.
Luis Suarez – 7/10
Made the clever backdoor runs and constantly threatened the Roma backline. Had his first attempt ruled out for offside but successfully slotted in the next, his first goal in the European competition this season.
Paulinho – 5/10
Added a fresh boost of energy into the Barcelona lineup and secured the midfield.
Andre Gomes – NA
Denis Suarez – NA