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Uneven Barcelona roll over Roma in Champions League
Barcelona boss Ernesto Valverde admitted his side were below their fluent best despite beating Roma 4-1 on Wednesday night in the Champions League quarter-final first leg.
Own-goals from Daniele De Rossi and Kostas Manolas and a close-range finish from Gerard Piqué helped the Catalans into a commanding position at the Camp Nou before Edin Dzeko scored for Roma in the 80th minute.
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.
"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 and they don't need help," Roma coach Eusebio Di Francesco said. "They had help both from the referee and from us."
Barca led at half-time after De Rossi stabbed into his own net as he tried to prevent Andres Iniesta's pass from reaching Lionel Messi.
After the pause two goals in four minutes then took the tie away from the visitors. In the 55th minute Samuel Umtiti's shot cannoned off the post and then hit Manolas before slipping into the net. Piqué then sidefooted home from close range.
"The truth is we know that in the game we can and we must improve in several points," said Barcalona midfielder Ivan Rakitic. "But we're very happy. When maybe you're not playing at 100 per cent, you have to stay together, to be strong."