Champions League

Messi, Suarez star as Barca rout Roma

2015-11-25 00:33
Lionel Messi (AFP)

Barcelona -  Lionel Messi scored his first two goals after a two-month injury layoff and Luis Suarez netted a brace in a 6-1 rout of Roma on Tuesday as Barcelona advanced to the Champions League knockout rounds for a 12th consecutive season.

Suarez got Barcelona rolling at Camp Nou in the 15th minute. Three minutes later Messi scored his first goal in his second appearance since returning from a left-knee injury.

Messi netted the hosts' fifth after Suarez and Gerard Pique scored. Adriano capped the demolition before Edin Dzeko got Roma's consolation.

Barcelona had already qualified for the next phase before kickoff after Bayer Leverkusen was held 1-1 at BATE Borisov, but the victory secured the defending champions 10 points and the top spot in Group E with a game to spare.

Roma was left with five points along with Leverkusen, while BATE has four.

Messi showed no rust from his time on the sideline recovering from a ligament he tore on Sept. 26. On Saturday, he played a little more than half an hour as a second-half substitute in Barcelona's memorable 4-0 win at Real Madrid, looking threatening as ever despite not scoring.

The Argentina star took little time finding the net against a Roma side that rarely left its area.

Messi's goals were his first in the Champions League this campaign (he has only made two appearance) and 78th and 79th in competition history, second only to Crisitano Ronaldo's record of 83.

Suarez, meanwhile, continued his scoring streak with his ninth and tenth goals in his last six matches taking him up to 17 for the season.

Both Suarez and striker partner Neymar, who missed a late penalty, also excelled at playing a part in their team's goals with their passing.

Messi's first pass at Camp Nou in two months was met with applause, and he took only five minutes before testing goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny.

Barcelona was soon in front for good after Neymar drifted back into midfield and sent forward a perfect pass to meet Dani Alves' run from the flank. The right back only had to square the ball for the unmarked Suarez to steer it in.

Messi doubled the lead moments later after he finished off a series of one-touch passes before Suarez lobbed him the ball, leaving Messi to dink the ball over Szczesny.

Barcelona continued to dominate both possession and the initiative, and Suarez blasted a right-foot volley of a cleared ball that fell to him just inside the far post right before halftime.

With Roma still in disarray, Pique got on the scoresheet after Messi was played through by Suarez and passed for the defender to tap home in the 56th.

Suarez was again playmaker four minutes later after Neymar found him in the area to set up Messi, who finished off his own rebound for this second goal.

Neymar earned a penalty from Salih Ucan but had his spot kick saved by Szczesny, only for substitute Adriano to rush in a fire in the rebound in the 77th.

Dzeko also had a penalty saved by Marc-Andre ter Stegen in the 82nd after being fouled by Thomas Vermaelen but got the Italian side a consolation goal just before the final whistle.

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