Historic night at the Olimpico as Roma survives Barcelona test in first leg #1733

Barcelona 1 A.S Roma 0FT

Eliot Ben-Ner
The Football Hub
Published in
11 min readMar 23


The Roma women took another huge step towards their immortality as they continue to close in on the league title. Roma put five past Fiorentina on Friday as they maintain they're eight point lead at the top of the summit as the championship round began. Roma still remain in three competitions. They've already qualified for the Copa Italia final as they've reached it for the third consecutive season looking to secure a league double. However, on top of that, the biggest most significant challenge sat in front of them on Tuesday night in Rome. A historic night for the club and the direction in which it is heading. Spugna has completely transformed the squad since taking over last season. He continues to take big steps in making this Roma side a Juggernaut. The adjustments and acquisitions he brought in in the summer has made this team into one of the best in the world. As it stands, Roma is a top 8 team in the world. No lower than top 10. They are the only Italian side remaining in the Champions League. In their debut campaign he's gotten them into the quarterfinals. Unfortunately, last season's runners up stand in their way. It was expected to be historic nonetheless though. For the first time ever, the Roma women would be playing at the stadio Olimpico. A surreal moment for these girls and how hard they've had to work to get here. The stage has been set of the quarterfinals of the Champions League, the heavily favored Barcelona against the rising Roma side. 39000 filled the stadio Olimpico as the Roma women walk out for the first time to embark on the Barcelona challenge that sits in front of them as kickoff approached.

The match kicked off with the sounds of the Olimpico being felt throughout the stadium and the city for the first time as the Roma women had quite a challenge on their hands. In the majority of the matches that Roma play, they have a big advantage in possession. They create most of the chances and the opposition is under pressure constantly. However, against Barcelona it was the polar opposite. Roma felt exactly how most of their opponents feel. Barcelona got after it immediately and their potent attack was very difficult to deal with. It was clear from the very beginning the defending well was going to go a long way, especially in a match of this type of magnitude. It was an onslaught of Barcelona opportunities. In the 9th minute coming from the corner. Caroline Hansen dumps it off to Leon as she strikes near the left post going a little wide but putting Roma under pressure immediately. It was just escalating from that first chance. In the 11th minute Alves is dispossessed in midfield prompting a Barcelona attack. Bonmati takes it into the corner before returning the ball to Hanson who takes a strike as Caesar just catches it. A minute later in the 12th minute, the calvary continued to come. Moki has an initial clearance from the box land at the feet of Walsh frim distance she dumps it off towards Rolfo short pass towards Guijarro than inside to Paralluelo who hits it with intense power but Caesar makes the necessary save before the follow-up launches over. It was a lot to take for an inexperienced Roma side who undoubtedly are a top 10 team in the world but had difficulties putting up with arguably one of the teams likely to win the champions league. 98 goals in La Liga this season. There are a joke and they were proving to be that type of threat to Roma. In the 19th minute Hanson showed some unbelievable quality cutting into the box dropping Moki getting around several defenders before making a sliding strike as Caesar makes another terrific save to keep it out. They kept coming and coming and coming. In the 22nd minute Barcelona delivery corner into Lucy Bronze but her header drifts wide. 2 minutes later Caesar was under pressure again. In the 24th minute a deep cross coming from midfield into Guijarro after a failed defensive clearance into Bonmati a devastating strike on goal but somehow Caesar comes up with it again. Camellia Caesar was single-handedly keeping Roma in the game. From an offensive output standpoint, Roma had a really difficult time getting the ball out of their own area. The majority of the first half was played just outside of their own box. It was only going to be a matter of time before Barcelona. Were going to get their breakthrough then the moment arrived in the 33rd minute. Barcelona move the ball up and down the pitch into the Roma danger area Paralluelo Just outside the circle drops her defender before hitting a perfectly directed strike into the top corner as Barcelona take a 1-0 lead.Valentina Giacinti was booked after mouthing off to the referee. Her complaint was Andressa Alves appear to be tripped in the box prior to the goal on the replay perhaps she was right. However, Barcelona get a well-deserved goal as they take their lead into the second half as the first half comes to a close at the stadio Olimpico in the Champions League quarterfinals.

Two observations came to mind after the first half. First being Camellia Caesar is one the best goalkeepers in the world after that first half performance. She's certainly can enter that conversation if she can keep that level. The second being Barcelona are as dominant and dangerous as advertised. There's a reason they have been so successful on all fronts over the years. Barcelona is exactly where Roma want to get to. The infrastructure of Roma is heading themselves into being one of the top sides in Europe where Barcelona are now Roma or cable of getting there. But at the moment there's a far cry of difference between Roma and Barcelona. As good as they are Roma barely had the ball for any significant amount of time in that first half. They were overwhelmed haven't really given themselves an opportunity, but that's not a shocking development considering the level of Barcelona. In the 48th minute Barcelona got right back at it Bonmati finesses a ball into Paralluelo She then goes for the cross. Asisat Oshoala gets her head on the end of it, but off the fingertip save from Caesar keeps the lead narrow. 3 minutes later were almost under pressure again as a short corner by Hanson and then a cross into the box forced Caesar to make a save off the line to keep the score the same. Finally, Roma's attack was brought to life. In the 55th minute on a counter attack Haavi pushes forward before finding space to get the ball into Valentina Giacinti. She is well covered She takes a strike but takes a deflection to pop the ball over the goal. In all honesty, Valentina Giacinti should have scored.

She is an absolute monster and one of the best players in the world at her best. 16 goals this season. She is the real deal however, and this instance she probably could have done better. Things like this are really important, especially at playing against a team like Barcelona. 2 minutes later, Barcelona regained their control and dominance. In the 57th minute Caesar deals with a strike from distance but she makes a sliding save with the bottom of her feet. She has been absolutely unbelievable and is a big reason Roma still find themselves within distance. In the 58th minute and attempted strike on goal was punched out by Caesar. However, Barcelona still collected and maintained possession. Hanson goes into the corner where she's surrounded before sending a cross into the box Asisat Oshoala got on the end of it this one looked like it was heading for the back of the net but Elena Linari props up with a header to clear it off the line. A minute later Caesar denied Hanson from range and all of a sudden Roma got on the offense. The attack was coming to life in a real way and the closing stretches of the game. In the 69th minute, Roma got themselves on a break. Guliano was brought down as she had the ball Glionna picked up the ball striking on the first touch but couldn't get the look as the goalkeeper grabs it. 2 minutes later Roma on a break again this time a Valentina Giacinti would square it to Haavi That takes a well hit strike. Looking for the bottom corner but the goalkeeper manages to get on it again. Roma's best chance came in the 83rd minute a little while after Glionna sends a cross into the box. Valentina Giacinti is in position but leaves it. Manuel Giuliano catches it from distance. Taking one to touch before launching and unbelievable strike from distance. However, the Barcelona keeper managed to get her hands on it, tipping it over. Then in the final moment of the game in the 93rd minute, Roma had a free kick. It was taking short then fleased inside to Valentina Giacinti as she taste a strike at the near post but the Barcelona keeper makes the save. A late surge from Roma shows optimism for the full-time whistle goes as they are defeated at stadio Olimpico 1–0 againest one of the best sides in Europe. Roma put together encouraging performance as they survive Barcelona only a goal down going into the class in Spain. The second leg will shift to the Camp Nou where Roma will probably find things much more difficult, but there 's plenty to be proud of even in defeat as Roma narrowly beaten in Rome.

Roma has been a relevation this campaign. They are on pace to win their first league title and club history. On top of that, they've had a historic campaign in the Champions League this far. They got through a group with Wolfsburg even drew with the German Giants. It all led up to this moment on a historic Tuesday night. There was obviously a gulf in quality between the two sides. There's no doubt about that. That was very evident. However, surprisingly Roma held their own. They were at the stadio Olimpico for the first time in history the 39,454 fans were at Roma women’s first match at the Stadio Olimpico setting a new record for the highest attendance in the history of Italian women’s football. Getting to play in that aura in front of the fans in Rome was a completely new experience for these girls, but then again this entire campaign has been a new experience. Roma is building something extraordinary. They fought a lot to get to this point. There's a sense of pride of them becoming such a force this season. Not just in the league but in the Champions League. Barcelona is one of the most dominating sides in women's football. They have hit incredible landmarks in terms of goal scoring and there's no sign of that slowing down. They have 98 goals in 22 games in La Liga. Not to mention what they have scored in the Champions League as well. It was arguably the biggest challenge they were ever going to face. Barcelona came into this evening in Rome as substantial favorites. On the historic night, Roma managed to survive relatively unscathed. Largely due to the incredible individual performance in goal by Camila Caesar who put together an absolute master class of display in front thousands in attendance. Barcelona showed their level with the way they move the ball constantly getting into dangerous positions. Roma collectively were under the rest for so much of this game. The Camellia Caesar brilliance kept Roma involved in the tie. Barcelona could have blown the amount of the water but Roma fought and would not go down without a fight. While humiliation might follow them when it shifts to the camp now the performance they put forth Tuesday night was unbelievable. You really can see the level that Roma have improved over the years. Spugna is putting together something truly extraordinary. Barcelona dominated the ball had the bulk of the chances. However, when Roma had their opportunities they looked incredibly dangerous. The majority of the game was them defending and unbelievable attack. Although Barcelona broke through outside of the super strike from Barcelona Roma defended at an extremely high level and when they got forward they looked incredibly dangerous. Valentina was miniscule margins away from scoring Not to mention Manuela Guliano's strike from distance and at the very end Valentina again. To a certain extent, Roma need to be much more surgical in front of goal in matches like this. Roma are well aware that they are massive underdogs against this loaded Barcelona, when their chances came they need to be a little bit sharper against teams like this. However, Roma went up against one of the best sides in the world. Roma survived the night only down a goal. At least providing them the faint as possibilities of keeping this close in Spain. More likely than not going to Spain will be in almost impossible situation. However, considering where Barcelona are as a club and how dominant they have been this season for them to come to Rome and only find the back of the net once is a testament to how well. Roma defended against them. They were under pressure. Their entire game Caesar made every save she could have made. It was a really encouraging performance despite the loss in the end. Roma this weekend will take another big step in their title ambitions with another opportunity to extend the lead at the top with a little help. They will take on AC. Milan on Saturday as they hope to maintain their lead at the summit. Roma may not be able to overturn Barcelona, but Roma are still leading the pile in the league and are in the Copa Italia final. Plenty still to do, but despite the defeat the Roma ladies showed up and performed to a level that very few expected. They should be so proud of themselves.