Another impressive and dominant display by Barcelona who eased past AS Roma to seal the top spot in the group stage of the UEFA Champions League.
It has been a wonderful night for the fans at Camp Nou, who witnessed yet another invigorating performance from Luis Enrique’s troops. Unstoppable in their efforts, the Catalans bagged six goals in a game which saw Lionel Messi make his full return and score his first goal(s) in the 65 days.
The Argentine wizard was on top of his game, leading his side to another huge victory. Leo Messi scored a brace to round up an impressive performance against helpless AS Roma who are now fearing for their place in the knock-out stage of Europe’s elite competition.
Barcelona are leading the pack in Group E with 13 points after five rounds, while second-placed Bayer Leverkusen and third-placed AS Roma are level on points, with only goal difference separating them.
AS Roma showed a lot of courage in tonight’s game going against Barcelona with their own medicine. Rudi Garcia pushed his back line high up towards the half-line, thus creating a lot of space for the Catalans. Relying on the offside traps worked well in the beginning of the proceedings for AS Roma, but Barcelona have excellently used the open space to create a lot of problems for the exposed Szczesny, who was made to work hard from the off.
The Polish goalkeeper was applauded from the fans at Camp Nou for his superb goalkeeping, but his efforts were, expectedly, short-lived as the deadlock was broken after 15 minutes.
Following a couple of great chances for the home side, Dani Alves did well to feed Luis Suarez who tapped the ball into an empty net to open the scorings.
The second goal came only three minutes later with Luis Suarez assisting Lionel Messi inside the box, who chipped the goal to beat AS Roma goalkeeper who was off the goal line. It was a fantastic lob from the Argentine who was really enjoying the night out following his lengthy spell on the sidelines.
Three goals were scored in the first half, Luis Suarez showed great composure inside the box as he fired a first-time volley shot which found the back of the net in fantastic fashion.
With only two shots towards Ter Stegen’s goal and with 28% of possession on their side, AS Roma were completely undone in the opening 45 minutes of tonight’s derby game. Buoyed by their rampant El Clasico win, Barcelona were overpowering and their dominance continued after the interval.
The hosts hit it hard right away, Neymar and Messi had a couple of great chances to increase the lead, but it wasn’t until the 56th minute that we saw a change of result.
Lionel Messi did all the work to pierce through into the area, Pique was spot on to follow up on a great run and to make it 4-0 with an easy tap in. Spanish defender was subbed right after he scored and Barcelona faithful awarded him with a standing ovation.
Four minutes later we saw another goal. Neymar picked up a pass on the left side of the pitch, passed a through ball which got to Messi after a couple of bounces and the Argentine was composed enough to tap it in.
Salih Ucan committed a foul in the penalty box after 77 minutes, but Neymar was overly confident to beat Roma shot stopper from the spot. Luckily, Adriano was following the play, picking up the rebound and firing a blazing shot in the top corner.
It appeared that the game would end in 6-0, even after Vermaelen’s foul on Dzeko inside the area. The Bosnian took the ball, but Ter Stegen was composed enough to block his shot. However, Edin Dzeko did use his chance and got his name on the score sheet later on.
He jumped for a cross in the dying moments of the game, planting a perfect header inside the left post leaving Ter Stegen helpless for the final result of 6-1.
Braces from Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi, with goals from Pique and Adriano saw Barcelona record another comprehensive win and claim their bid in the race to defend their European crown.
BARCELONA: Ter Stegen 7.5 – Alves 8, Pique 7.5 (Bartra 6), Vermaelen 7, Alba 7 – Rakitic 7, Busquets 6.5 (Samper 6), Roberto 7 (Adriano 7) – Suarez 9, Messi 9, Neyma 8.
Unused subs: Bravo, El Haddadi, Iniesta, Mathieu.
AS ROMA: Szczesny 6.5 – Maicon 5.5, Manolas 6, Rudiger 6, Digne 6 – Pjanic 6.5 (Ucan 5.5), Keita 5.5, Nainggolan 6 (Iturbe 6.5) – Florenzi 6 (Vainqueur 6), Dzeko 7, Falque 6.
Unused subs: Leandro, De Rossi, De Sanctis, Torosidis.
REFEREE: Cuneyt Cakir
Other results this evening:
BATE Borisov 1-1 Bayer Leverkusen
Zenit Petersburg 2-0 Valencia
Arsenal 3-0 Dinamo Zagreb
Bayern Munich 4-0 Olympiakos Piraeus
FC Porto 0-2 Dynamo Kiev
Lyon 1-2 Gent
Maccabi Tel Aviv 0-4 Chelsea