Roma Femminile 0-1 Barça Women: Battling win away at the Stadio Olimpico
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The first ever game between Roma Femminile and FC Barcelona Women may have ended 0-1, but the scoreline in this pulsating match could have been so different.
The record crowd of 39,454 for an Italian women's football match were treated to a good contest, with both sides having spells on top. However, Barça's dominance in the first half, crowned by a goal by Salma Paralluelo, ultimately proved enough, despite late pressure from Roma.
Barça dominate the first half and take the lead
Roma seemed somewhat overawed at the beginning of the match, possibly because this was their first ever game both against Barça and at the Stadio Olimpico. The visitors quickly settled into their passing style, controlling the game, typified by Walsh and Patri in midfield, the latter twice threatening to set Paralluelo free down the left channel with passes inside the full-back.
Graham Hansen was giving Minami a torrid time on the right forcing several corners, one of which was headed just wide by Bronze after 23 minutes. The Barça pressure was building and the breakthrough came after Paralluelo showed quick feet to evade her marker before turning to curl in a left foot shot past Ceasar in the Roma goal after 34 minutes. Half time score 0-1, the Catalans in control.
Further chances before Roma push for an equaliser
The second half only got worse for the home side, Graham Hansen setting up Oshoala on several occasions, only to be denied again by Roma's best performer Ceaser, her fine point blank reaction save pushing an Oshoala header over the bar, one of the many chances she thwarted throughout the game.
Roma then began to exploit the space behind the Barça full-backs and started pushing the visitors back in search of an equaliser, the lively Giacinti's shot inside the box being heroically deflected over by Mapi Leon after 56 minutes. Oshoala had another shot headed off the line three minutes later in a sign it wasn't to be her day in front of goal.
The rest of the game was a good test of defence for the visitors, Paños showing she was alert in goal to a rasping drive by Giugliano on 83 minutes, before saving from Giacinti in the final minute at the near post after a clever free kick routine.
All in all a battling win in the end for Barcelona Women after a comfortable first half, with a one goal aggregate lead to take back to the Spotify Camp Nou for the return leg on 29 March 6.45pm CEST.
Roma Femminile 0
FC Barcelona Women 1
Roma: Ceasar, Bartoli (Di Guglielmo, min 66), Wenninger, Linari, Minami, Serturini (Glionna, min. 60), Giugliano, Greggi (Losada, min. 60), Haavi, Andressa, Giacinti.
Barça: Paños, Bronze (Torrejón, min. 91), Paredes, Mapi León, Rolfo, Aitana, Walsh, Guijarro (Egen, min.78), Hansen (Bruna, min 91), Oshoala (Geyse, min. 65), Paralluelo (Crnogorcevic, min. 78).
Goals: 0-1, Paralluelo (min. 34).
Referees: Iuliana Demetrescu, Petruta Iugulescu and Mihaela Tepusa. Yellow cards for Paredes and Bronze from Barça.
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