On Wednesday, the FC Barcelona U19 team began its challenge for the UEFA Youth League with a 0-0 draw at AS Roma, just hours before the senior teams meet in the same fixture in the Champions League.
In an evenly matched first half, Barça unsurprisingly dominated the possession while the Italians sat back in the hope of exploiting their speed on the counter-attack. Marc Rio and Carles Pérez both had early chances, but the closest Barça came to scoring in the first 45 minutes was when a wonderful long-range effort from Carles Aleñá was directed straight onto the Roma post.
At the other end, Andreu produced a fine save to deny Soleri, and Umar almost finished off a dangerous Roma counter-attack before just seconds later coming very close to converting a fine cross from the wing. Unfazed by those scares, and on the stroke of half-time, Theo Chendri looked to have put Barça ahead, but his shot skimmed over the Roma bar.
Roma were considerably more offence-minded after the interval, with D’Urso and Soleri both firing close. Moments later there was a breath-taking moment of action in which Carles Pérez, Theo Chendri and Marc Rio all had shots for Barça and somehow or other the Roma defence managed to keep the ball out.
After 67 minutes of what was turning out to be an enticing encounter, Soleri had another fine chance for the home side but sent his header onto the crossbar. Just how this game was still goal-less was a mystery, and although there was something of a lull in the drama in the final quarter of an hour, there was still time for Andreu to display his skills in the Barça goal with fine saves to deny Tumminello and Bordi. There was a late push from the Catalans in injury time, but a fine advertisement for both clubs’ academies ended as it had begun: Roma 0 Barça 0.