SPORTS


Spectacular Florenzi strike helps Roma hold Barça

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Baku, September 17, AZERTAC

Alessandro Florenzi scored a remarkable equaliser from near the halfway line as the Giallorossi held the champions in their Group E opener, according to uefa.com.

Roma held UEFA Champions League holders Barcelona to a 1-1 draw at the Stadio Olimpico as Luis Suárez's opener was cancelled out by a memorable Alessandro Florenzi effort from near halfway.

Barcelona soon eased into their routine possession-based game which, while seeming to cause plenty of concern to the home fans, did not appear to cause the Roma players any chagrin. Rudi Garcia's men showed sponge-like qualities in soaking up the Blaugrana's attacks, Antonio Rüdiger excelling with some timely interventions.

When the German defender, making his first UEFA Champions League appearance and only second for the Giallorossi, was caught out of position, Barça struck with malice. Ivan Rakitić stole in around the back, and his cross just needed Suárez to connect at the far post to put the visitors in front. He obliged.

Roma's response was not to panic, but to remain faithful to their chosen game plan. With the pace of Mohamed Salah and Edin Džeko, they started to pull the Barcelona defenders out of position, but it was a moment of genius from Florenzi which saw them level.

The 24-year-old midfielder, playing as an emergency full-back, spotted Marc-André ter Stegen off his line and released an audacious lob from the touchline barely ten metres inside the Barcelona half, finding the very far corner of his target, off the inside of the upright.

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