Saturday 21 April 2018

Suarez ends Euro drought as Barcelona take control

Barcelona 4 Roma 1

Barcelona's Luis Suarez celebrates scoring their fourth goal. Photo: Juan Medina/Reuters
Barcelona's Luis Suarez celebrates scoring their fourth goal. Photo: Juan Medina/Reuters

Jamie Holland

Luis Suarez scored his first Champions League goal of the season to earn Barcelona a 4-1 victory over Roma in the first leg of their quarter-final.

The Catalans were not at their sparkling best but still proved far too good for Roma, who were unfortunate to score two own goals through Daniele De Rossi and Kostas Manolas before Gerard Pique added a third.

Edin Dzeko pulled one back in the 80th minute to keep Roma just about in the tie but Suarez netted three minutes from time to put Barca within sight of a first semi-final appearance in the competition for three seasons.

Suarez had the ball in the net in the seventh minute after running on to a defence-splitting pass from Ivan Rakitic but the flag was correctly raised for offside.

When the first goal did come, it was a stroke of ill fortune for Roma. Andres Iniesta attempted to pick out Lionel Messi and, in stretching to cut out the pass, De Rossi applied a finish worthy of the Barca magician.

Barca doubled their lead 10 minutes after the break when Messi and Rakitic engineered a short corner and the Croatian sent in a cross. Umtiti's shot hit a post but the rebound went in off Manolas.

Barcelona's Lionel Messi in action with Roma's Diego Perotti. Photo: Albert Gea/Reuters
Barcelona's Lionel Messi in action with Roma's Diego Perotti. Photo: Albert Gea/Reuters

After saving from Suarez in the 59th minute, Roma goalkeeper Alisson was beaten for a third time when Pique tapped in the rebound.

Roma needed something to give themselves a sniff in the second leg and, after Marc-Andre ter Stegen had denied substitute Gregoire Defrel and Perotti, Dzeko applied the finishing touch. But their hard work was undone seven minutes later when poor defending was emphatically punished by Suarez.

Roma's Edin Dzeko scores their first goal. Photo: Albert Gea/Reuters
Roma's Edin Dzeko scores their first goal. Photo: Albert Gea/Reuters

Irish Independent

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