Roma tactics, draw frustrate Enrique

Stranded Barcelona goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen has no answer to the dramatic equaliser by Roma's Alessandro Florenzi (above) during their Champions League match in Rome on Wednesday. "I couldn't believe it went in," said Florenzi of his shot fro
Stranded Barcelona goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen has no answer to the dramatic equaliser by Roma's Alessandro Florenzi during their Champions League match in Rome on Wednesday. "I couldn't believe it went in," said Florenzi of his shot from just inside the halfway line.PHOTOS: REUTERS
Stranded Barcelona goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen has no answer to the dramatic equaliser by Roma's Alessandro Florenzi (above) during their Champions League match in Rome on Wednesday. "I couldn't believe it went in," said Florenzi of his shot fro
Stranded Barcelona goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen has no answer to the dramatic equaliser by Roma's Alessandro Florenzi (above) during their Champions League match in Rome on Wednesday. "I couldn't believe it went in," said Florenzi of his shot from just inside the halfway line.PHOTOS: REUTERS

ROME • Barcelona coach Luis Enrique admitted his frustration at Champions League Group E rivals Roma after a solid defensive display earned the Italian side a hard-fought point from a thrilling 1-1 draw on Wednesday.

Barely four months after sweeping Juventus aside 3-1 to win the final in Berlin, Barca set their sights on hammering another Serie A side as they look to become the first side since AC Milan in 1990 to win back-to-back European titles.

But, despite a dominant performance, the Catalan side were left frustrated as Bayer Leverkusen, 4-1 winners over BATE Borisov, went two points clear at the top of the group.

In Lionel Messi's 100th Champions League appearance, the Argentinian star was upstaged by Alessandro Florenzi's stunning leveller for the hosts from just inside the halfway line on 31 minutes.

Enrique, who spent a fruitless season as Roma coach in 2011-12, said: "We created a lot of chances but when your opponents close up at the back, it's not easy."

A day after seeing Real Madrid striker Cristiano Ronaldo overtake their shared record of 77 goals in the competition with a hat-trick in a 4-0 win over Shakhtar Donetsk, Messi was on the hunt for goals.

But his most telling contribution came on 21 minutes, when he backed into Lucas Digne, causing the Frenchman to fall.

The subsequent confusion over whether a foul had been committed gave the visitors a split-second's momentum.

Ivan Rakitic went unchallenged at the near post to send in a lob for Luis Suarez to head home at the back post, as Roma's players protested in vain.

The hosts drew level in spectacular fashion just after the half-hour mark. Seeing goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen 15m off his line, Florenzi carried the ball into Barca's half near the right touchline. He looked up and hit a drive that sailed over the goalkeeper, off the far post and into the net.

"I couldn't believe it went in," said Florenzi.

"I don't do that very often."

Roma coach Rudi Garcia said of the equaliser: "That was one for the history books."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 18, 2015, with the headline 'Roma tactics, draw frustrate Enrique'. Print Edition | Subscribe