Champions League

Valverde admits Barca below par despite Roma win

2018-04-05 08:09
Ernesto Valverde.(Getty Images)

Barcelona - Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde admitted his side were well below their best despite beating Roma 4-1 in the Champions League quarter-final first leg on Wednesday.

Two own-goals, from Daniele De Rossi and Kostas Manolas, and a close-range finish from Gerard Pique, presented the Catalans with a flattering 3-0 advantage at the Camp Nou before Edin Dzeko snatched Roma a late away goal.

But, just as the Italians looked to have grabbed a lifeline, Luis Suarez restored the three-goal cushion, by scoring a fourth in the 87th minute.

It means Barca will head to Italy next week with a place in the last four firmly in their grasp but this was not a virtuoso attacking display.

Instead, they benefited from two fortuitous own goals and some careless Roma finishing. They are unlikely to meet as generous an opponent in the semis.

"We did not that have continuity in the game," Valverde said. "We had some errors and there were times that we rushed into the attack, instead of having some control."

Barca also had referee Danny Makkelie to thank for not awarding Roma an early penalty, after Nelson Semedo pushed Dzeko in the back.

"They are already good on their own, they don't need help," Roma coach Eusebio Di Francesco said.

"Tonight they had help both from the referee and from us."

After Cristiano Ronaldo's spectacular bicycle kick for Real Madrid on Tuesday, even Lionel Messi, back from injury, endured a slightly frustrating night, his shots and dribbles for once meeting opponents rather than the net.

Messi returned to the starting line-up after recovering from his hamstring complaint, as did Sergio Busquets, back after breaking his toe against Chelsea three weeks ago.

But while Messi completed the 90 minutes seemingly unscathed, Busquets had to be replaced by Paulinho midway through the second half.

"Busquets has played with some small discomfort for the injury he has," Valverde said. "In the end he was suffering a lot and we have changed it, but that's fine."

Barca led at half-time after De Rossi slid to prevent Andres Iniesta's pass reaching Messi and inadvertently stabbed into his own net.

Two goals in four second-half minutes then took the tie away from the visitors as Samuel Umtiti's finish cannoned off both the post and then Manolas, before Pique sidefooted home from close range.

Dzeko's finish might have given Roma hope had it not been cancelled out by Suarez scoring a fourth, as Barca wrapped up a win that did not wholly reflect a scrappy performance.

"The truth is we know that in the game we can and we must improve in several points," Barca's Ivan Rakitic said.

"But we're very happy for the work. When maybe you're not playing at 100 per cent, you have to stay together, to be strong. 5-1 would be better than 4-1, to be more calm, and we know Roma will try to turn it around."

 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

Fixtures
Tuesday, 22 October 2019
Shakhtar Donetsk v Dinamo Zagreb, Metalist Stadium 18:55
Atletico Madrid v Bayer Leverkusen, Wanda Metropolitano 18:55
Juventus v Lokomotiv Moscow, Allianz Stadium 21:00
Manchester City v Atalanta, Etihad Stadium 21:00
Club Brugge v Paris SG, Jan Breydel Stadion 21:00
Olympiacos v Bayern Munchen, Karaiskakis Stadium 21:00
Tottenham Hotspur v Red Star Belgrade, Tottenham Hotspur Stadium 21:00
Galatasaray v Real Madrid, Turk Telekom Arena 21:00
Wednesday, 23 October 2019
Ajax v Chelsea, Amsterdam ArenA 18:55
RB Leipzig v Zenit St. Petersburg, Red Bull Arena 18:55
Benfica v Lyon, da Luz 21:00
Slavia Prague v Barcelona, Eden Arena 21:00
Genk v Liverpool, Luminus Arena 21:00
Red Bull Salzburg v Napoli, Red Bull Arena 21:00
Inter Milan v Borussia Dortmund, San Siro 21:00
Lille v Valencia, Stade Pierre-Mauroy 21:00
Tuesday, 05 November 2019
Barcelona v Slavia Prague, Camp Nou 19:55
Zenit St. Petersburg v RB Leipzig, Saint Petersburg Stadium 19:55
Liverpool v Genk, Anfield 22:00
Lyon v Benfica, Groupama Stadium 22:00
Valencia v Lille, Mestalla 22:00
Napoli v Red Bull Salzburg, San Paolo 22:00
Borussia Dortmund v Inter Milan, Signal Iduna Park 22:00
Chelsea v Ajax, Stamford Bridge 22:00
Wednesday, 06 November 2019
Bayern Munchen v Olympiacos, Allianz Arena 19:55
Lokomotiv Moscow v Juventus, Lokomotiv Stadium 19:55
Atalanta v Manchester City, Atleti Azzurri d'Italia 22:00
Bayer Leverkusen v Atletico Madrid, BayArena 22:00
Dinamo Zagreb v Shakhtar Donetsk, Maksimir Stadium 22:00
Paris SG v Club Brugge, Parc des Princes 22:00
Real Madrid v Galatasaray, Santiago Bernabeu 22:00
Red Star Belgrade v Tottenham Hotspur, Stadion Rajko Mitic 22:00
Tuesday, 26 November 2019
Lokomotiv Moscow v Bayer Leverkusen, Lokomotiv Stadium 19:55
Galatasaray v Club Brugge, Turk Telekom Arena 19:55
Juventus v Atletico Madrid, Allianz Stadium 22:00
Atalanta v Dinamo Zagreb, Atleti Azzurri d'Italia 22:00
Manchester City v Shakhtar Donetsk, Etihad Stadium 22:00
Real Madrid v Paris SG, Santiago Bernabeu 22:00
Red Star Belgrade v Bayern Munchen, Stadion Rajko Mitic 22:00
Tottenham Hotspur v Olympiacos, Tottenham Hotspur Stadium 22:00
Wednesday, 27 November 2019
Valencia v Chelsea, Mestalla 19:55
Zenit St. Petersburg v Lyon, Saint Petersburg Stadium 19:55
Liverpool v Napoli, Anfield 22:00
Barcelona v Borussia Dortmund, Camp Nou 22:00
Slavia Prague v Inter Milan, Eden Arena 22:00
Genk v Red Bull Salzburg, Luminus Arena 22:00
RB Leipzig v Benfica, Red Bull Arena 22:00
Lille v Ajax, Stade Pierre-Mauroy 22:00
Logs
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Previous Results

Date Home Team Result Away Team
Vote

Who will emerge victorious in this season's Champions League?

 
 
Men
Women
Love 2 Meet
English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...

Sport24 on Twitter

Follow Sport24 news on Twitter

Featured

The 2018/19 Absa Premiership season is in full swing. Will Mamelodi Sundowns retain their title? Or can one of Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates, Wits, SuperSport United - or another team perhaps - snatch glory from the Brazilians? Be sure to visit Sport24 for all the latest news!

Latest blogs
 

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

 
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.