Barcelona Romp Roma

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From the start, it was clear that Barcelona were the best team on the pitch. The Catalan club dominated possession and could seemingly penetrate the Roma backline at will. In the opening ten minutes, Lionel Messi thought that he had given Barca a well-deserved lead, but the man that played the pass, Neymar, was called offsides. Minutes later, Edin Dzeko should have given Roma the lead when he was left completely unmarked in the box, but the former-Manchester City striker’s header flew harmlessly over the net. Other than Dzeko’s tempting header, the early stages of the game clearly showed that it wasn’t a question of “if” the Spanish club would score, but a question of “when.”

The first goal of many came in the 15th minute courtesy of Luis Suárez. A slicing diagonal ball from Neymar found Dani Alves sprinting into the penalty area. The Brazilian defender timed his run perfectly to stay onsides before laying the ball off to Suárez who tapped the ball into a wide-open net. Two minutes later, Barca scored a stereotypically beautiful Barcelona goal. The attacking trident of Messi, Neymar, and Suárez connected some intricate passing on the edge of the area before Messi got behind the Roma defense and chipped Wojciech Szczesny to double his side’s lead. You could argue that the Argentine’s strike was an example of the “perfect” goal with its quick passing and deft touches.

As the game inched closer and closer to the halftime whistle, it looked as if Roma were going to enter the second 45 minutes down just two goals. Barcelona had other plans. After Neymar’s initial cross into the penalty area was headed away from the net, the ball fell to Suárez on the edge of the penalty area. Without any hesitation, the Uruguayan struck a beautiful first time volley into the side netting. At two goals down, there was still hope that Roma could somehow come out and equalize in the second half, but after Suárez’s strike the three points were pretty much assured for Barca.

Just ten minutes into the second half, Gerard Piqué scored Barca’s fourth goal of the game. Suárez played a lovely chipped through ball to Messi in the penalty area, and the Argentine coolly found Piqué unmarked on the edge of the six-yard box. Four minutes later, the front three linked up again to find the back of the net. On the wing, Neymar found Suárez in the penalty area, who laid it off to Messi. Messi’s initial shot was saved by Szczesny, but he couldn’t hold on to the ball and Messi pounced on the rebound to make the score 5-0.

In the 76th minute, Neymar earned himself a penalty kick, but Szczesny denied the Brazilian’s ensuing spot kick. The Polish keeper was unable to hold on to the ball and Adriano smashed the rebound into the roof of the net. Roma had the chance to put at least one goal on the board in the final ten minutes after Thomas Vermaelen brought down Dzeko in the penalty area. Marc-André Ter Stegen, who had been relatively untested for the duration of the match, came up big and denied the Bosnian’s ensuing shot to maintain Barca’s clean sheet. In the final seconds of the match, however, Dzeko finally found the back of the net with a towering header, but it meant little to the final result.

Barcelona’s dominating 6-1 victory assured them top spot in the group and a place in the knockout rounds. The second spot in the group is still up for grabs. The remaining three clubs in Group E all have a chance to advance. Roma hosts BATE in their final group league fixture. A win would put them in great position to advance to the knockout rounds, but they need Barca to defeat Bayer Leverkusen in the other fixture. Can the Italian club rebound from this demoralizing defeat?


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