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Roma 0-1 Barcelona: Paralluelo strike gives Barça slender lead

Salma Paralluelo's neat finish was the difference as Barcelona struggled to make their dominance count more against a determined Roma side in the UEFA Women's Champions League quarter-finals.

Highlights: Roma 0-1 Barcelona

Salma Paralluelo's curling strike proved enough for Barcelona as they survived a late Roma onslaught to take a 1-0 lead back to the Camp Nou for the second leg of this UEFA Women's Champions League quarter-final.

Key moments

13': Ceasar denies Paralluelo
: Graham Hansen forces save
34': Paralluelo curls fine opener
59': Linari clears Oshoala header off line
82': Andressa Alves fires wide
84': Paños tips Giugliano effort over
90+3': Giacinti strike turned wide by Barça keeper

Match in brief: Blaugrana forced to battle

Barcelona will look to finish the job next Wednesday
Barcelona will look to finish the job next WednesdayGetty Images

Playing in front of a national record attendance for women's football of 39,454, Barcelona quickly turned on the style at the Stadio Olimpico and peppered the Roma goal for much of the first half.

Mapi León rustled the side netting with a left-footed strike from just inside the box. Shortly afterwards, Paralluelo combined well with Patricia Guijarro before forcing the first save of the night from Camelia Ceasar.

Ceasar was also perfectly placed to deny Caroline Graham Hansen, after the Norwegian international's trickery afforded her the room to attempt a strike from a tight angle to the right of goal.

The visitors' pressure soon paid off, however, with Guijarro and Paralluelo linking up neatly once more. The former's pass was expertly controlled by the 19-year-old, who applied a sweeping finish for her first goal in this competition.

Jonatan Giráldez's side looked to press home their advantage shortly after the break, with Asisat Oshoala and Aitana Bonmatí denied by Ceasar's heroics and some excellent defending from Carina Wenninger.

When home custodian Ceasar was finally beaten by Oshoala's towering header, Elena Linari was perfectly positioned to clear the ball off the line.

The hosts eventually began to exploit some space in the Barcelona back line as they hunted for a second and Roma finished the match in the ascendancy.

Emilie Haavi and Manuela Giugliano both worked Sandra Paños late on, either side of former Barcelona attacker Andressa Alves stabbing wide from close range.

As it happened: Roma 0-1 Barcelona
Salma Paralluelo displays her award
Salma Paralluelo displays her awardUEFA via Getty Images

Visa Player of the Match: Salma Paralluelo

"Her movement and choices around the box were exceptional. She was always a threat coming inside and her finishing was outstanding."
UEFA Technical Observer panel

Francesco Corda, Roma reporter

For Roma it was a date with history, but Barcelona showed them that the Eternal City was not built in a day. Last season's finalists deservedly won 1-0 at the Stadio Olimpico in a match which set the crowd record for a women's football match in Italy. Paralluelo's first goal of the competition was decisive. Spugna's team had four chances in the second half, but they have their goalkeeper to thank if they are still in contention to win the tie.

Graham Hunter, Barcelona reporter

What a superb contest to go with a historic attendance for a women's match in Italy and the Stadio Olimpico's debut in this competition. Barça put on a show. No one would dare to say they defended their lead or were content to edge it 1-0. Their sole aim was to generate goal chances and there was a flood of them, leaving their coach Jonatan Giráldez content with the attitude but frustrated by the finishing. Paralluelo, Lucy Bronze and León, in particular, stood out. Roll on next week.


There was little to separate the teams at the Stadio Olimpico
There was little to separate the teams at the Stadio OlimpicoAFP via Getty Images

Jonatan Giráldez, Barcelona coach: "We created a lot of chances to score more than one goal. We knew it would be a difficult game. It's a pity: it's a good result, but everything remains open for the next game at home at the Camp Nou. Roma's goalkeeper was one of their most important players today, but sometimes our decision in the last third was not good to score. We have to improve on this."

Salma Paralluelo, Barcelona forward and Player of the Match: "We missed a lot of chances. We created many opportunities and we can't afford to miss that many. There were times when they did get into our final third, which means they could've won. We've got to continue working because the return leg will be difficult. We'll have to fix our mistakes."

Asisat Oshoala, Barcelona forward: "Sometimes football is like this; we have to take the opportunities. These are the quarter-finals and you have to expect tough opponents. We had a good game but we need to finish our chances better. The mentality we have is that anything can happen in the second leg and the match is still very open."

Alessandro Spugna, Roma coach: "The important thing is that we really did our best. I think the fans also enjoyed it. I'm very proud of the girls; they played an extraordinary game. We suffered a lot in the first half, but it's normal because they are a fantastic team. They understand the game; they know when to accelerate and when not to. They have technique and physique, and so it was very difficult."

Camelia Ceasar, Roma goalkeeper: "It was a magical night. We want to thank all the people who came to the Stadio Olimpico. We are proud: for us it's a novelty and brings great emotions. We knew that Barcelona were really strong, but as the minutes went by, we gathered more and more courage in trying to play our own game."

Emilie Haavi, Roma midfielder: "I am proud but I know I should have scored. I know in these games we can't miss these chances because we don't get many. At this level, you can't afford not to score. They are a great team; the way they control the ball and how they play together is impressive. We played a good second half. The first was difficult, but they are probably one the best teams in the world."

Key stats

  • Barcelona have won seven of their last eight European quarter-final matches.
  • Barça have failed to score in just one of their last 12 Women's Champions League last-eight fixtures.
  • This was only Roma's second defeat in 11 European outings this season, and their first at home.
  • The Italian side failed to score for only the second time in those 11 Women's Champions League matches this term.


Roma: Ceasar; Bartoli (Di Guglielmo 66), Wenninger, Linari, Minami; Serturini (Glionna 61), Giugliano, Greggi (Losada 61), Haavi; Andressa Alves, Giacinti

Barcelona: Paños; Bronze (Torrejón 90+2), Paredes, León, Rolfö; Bonmatí, Walsh, Guijarro (Syrstad Engen 79); Graham Hansen (Vilamala 90+2), Oshoala (Geyse 66), Paralluelo (Crnogorčević 78)

What's next?

The second leg will be played at Camp Nou on Wednesday 29 March. The winners will face Lyon or Chelsea in the semi-finals on 22/23 and 29/30 April.