Barcelona head into the second-leg of their quarter-final tie with Roma with a considerable three-goal cushion as they came out 4-1 winners at the Nou Camp.
Own goals from Danielle De Rossi and Kostas Manolas as well as goals from Gerard Pique and Luis Suarez were enough to render Edin Dzeko’s consolation irrelevant on the night, and the Catalonians will travel to Italy next week with one foot in the semi-finals.
Barcelona full-back Semedo gave the referee a decision to make early on when he collided with former Manchester City striker Dzeko inside the area. He appeared to clip the heels of the Roma forward, but the referee felt there was insufficient contact to award a penalty.
Lionel Messi engineered the first effort of the game two minutes later when he forced Alisson into a save with a driven shot from 30-yards, testing but not troubling the Brazilian number one.
Ivan Rakitic tried his luck from range ten minutes later, striking a loose ball fiercely from the edge of the area but watching the ball deflect over the bar. His effort came once again from Messi, who beat four men before being tackled, with the ball dropping to the Croatian.
Suarez was next to call Alisson into action on the half-hour mark, his left-footed shot across the ‘keeper the culmination of a slick Barcelona move down the left-hand side.
It will surprise very few that Barcelona were the dominant side in the first-half, especially considering the fact that Roma have won only one of their last 13 away matches in the Champions League.
Despite all Barcelona’s dominance, the first goal scorer was Roma player De Rossi – although the Italian put through his own net. The defensive midfielder stuck the ball into his own net in the 38th minute in spectacular fashion, with his intended interception on a pass for Messi turning into a shot into his own bottom corner.
Aleksandar Kolarov ended the half on a low for Roma as he attempted to play out from the back, being caught in possession by Messi and earning a yellow card for his subsequent foul on the Argentine attacker.
With all to play for in the second-half, Roma shot out of the traps. Diego Perotti could rue the header he missed only 20 seconds after kick-off, meeting a superb early cross at the back post only to see it drift wide of Marc-Andre ter Stegen’s goal.
Alessandro Florenzi tried his luck with an audacious left-footed half-volley on the turn from the edge of the box, but his chance again went begging.
Barcelona doubled their lead only a few minutes later, once again in somewhat spectacular fashion. Own goal was the scorer again, this time Kostas Manolas the culprit.
Rakitic played a short corner into the feet of the ever-present Messi, who returned the favour. The Croatian drilled the ball across the box from the right-hand side, and Manolas beat Samuel Umtiti to the connection – firing the ball onto his own post, only to watch it cannon back through the legs of the French defender, against the Greek’s own body, and past his own goalkeeper to give Barca a two-goal cushion.
Roma were desperate to get back into the game, but when Messi found Suarez on the counter for the Catalan giants there was a huge chance to put the game to bed. Alisson saved the initial shot, but Gerard Pique was on hand to turn in the rebound and take the score to 3-0.
Dzeko was determined not to let the tie get away from Roma, though, and he held off Jordi Alba superbly to control and slot home a cross from Perotti in the 80th minute.
Ever the pantomime villain though, Suarez was on hand to crush Roma fans’ dreams when he slotted home on his left-foot from 12-yards, poaching the ball off of the feet of Gonalons and finding the bottom corner with ease, to leave Barcelona looking comfortable heading into the second-leg.