Alessandro Florenzi’s extraordinary goal earns Roma a draw with Barcelona

Thomas Müller grabs two as Bayern Munich prove too strong for BATE

Roma’s  Alessandro Florenzi  celebrates after scoring from just inside the Barcelona half during the Champions League match at the  Olympic Stadium. Photograph: Andreas Solaro/AFP/Getty Images

Roma’s Alessandro Florenzi celebrates after scoring from just inside the Barcelona half during the Champions League match at the Olympic Stadium. Photograph: Andreas Solaro/AFP/Getty Images

 

Champions League round-up: Alessandro Florenzi scored an extraordinary goal from a seemingly impossible position on the right touchline, around 40 metres from goal, to give AS Roma a 1-1 draw against Barcelona at the Olympic Stadium.

Florenzi raced down the touchline and was just inside the Barcelona half when he spotted Marc-Andre ter Stegen off his line and unleashed a looping effort which flew over the Barca goalkeeper’s head and into the net off the far post.

Ter Stegen ran back desperately, then appeared to stop thinking that the ball would go out only to see it land in the goal in the 31st minute of the Group E game.

Luis Suarez had given Barcelona the lead 10 minutes earlier as they began the defence of their title.

As expected, Barcelona, whose coach Luis Enrique was returning to the club he coached for one season, dominated possession and the Roma crowd was often strangely silent as the visitors stroked the ball around in midfield.

Lionel Messi and Suarez both had early chances before Barcelona prised open the Roma defence in the 21st minute.

Jeremy Mathieu floated a long ball over the defence which set Ivan Rakitic clear on the right and the Croat’s cross was headed in by Suarez at point-blank range.

Barcelona were threatening to over-run the hosts when Roma right back Florenzi brought the house down with his spectacular effort.

Barcelona also had the better of the second half although, with Neymar failing to spark, they created few real chances until Messi hit the bar with 12 minutes left.

Hakan Calhanoglu struck twice as Bayer Leverkusen crushed BATE Borisov 4-1 at home, with newcomer Javier Hernandez also on target in their confidence-boosting win.

The former Manchester United striker scored the Germans’ third goal, sliding his low shot under goalkeeper Sergei Chernik.

Admir Mehmedi and Calhanoglu had earlier scored for Leverkusen either side of Nemanja Milunovic’s equaliser before Calhanoglu scored from the penalty spot in the 76th minute.

Two goals from Thomas Müller and a strike from substitute Mario Götze helped Bayern Munich kick off their campaign with an impressive 3-0 victory over Olympiakos Piraeus in Greece.

Bayern controlled possession for long spells in an entertaining Group F encounter with Robert Lewandowski a constant threat before Müller beat Olympiakos goalkeeper Roberto with what looked like an intended cross from out on the right flank after 52 minutes.

Olympiakos battled manfully in front of their frenzied supporters with Nigerian striker Ideye Brown going close on a couple of occasions.

But Marco Silva’s side could not find an equaliser and it was Bayern who struck again with two goals in quick succession in the closing stages from Götze and a Müller penalty as the hosts ran out of steam.

The win means Pep Guardiola’s Bayern maintained their 100 per cent start to the season with a sixth win in all competitions.

Vitaliy Buyalskyi came off the bench at the Olympic Stadium to score a late equaliser and earn Dinamo Kiev a 2-2 draw with Porto in Group C.

After a two-year absence from the group stages, Kiev made a great start when Oleg Gusev scored after 20 minutes.

Porto were level three minutes later when Vincent Aboubakar outjumped his marker and he put the visitors in front after the break following a corner.

Buyalskyi saved Kiev though, racing onto Serhiy Rybalka’s mis-hit drive and firing past Iker Casillas.

Valencia’s hopes of a winning Champions League return after a two-year absence were dashed when Hulk struck twice for Zenit St Petersburg in a 3-2 victory for the Russian champions in their Group H opener in Spain.

Valencia, the 2000 and 2001 runners-up who finished fourth in La Liga last season, came through qualification by beating Monaco 4-3 over two legs but were brought abruptly down to earth in the first half at their Mestalla stadium by a pair of thunderous Hulk efforts.

The Brazil forward opened the scoring in the ninth minute when he sped clear on the left and cracked a shot across goalkeeper Jaume Domenech into the far corner.

His second shortly before half-time was even better as he picked up the ball outside the penalty area and smashed it high into the net.

Valencia full back Joao Cancelo, who hit the post in the second minute, pulled a goal back for the home side 10 minutes into the second half and forward Andre Gomes levelled 17 minutes from time when he netted from a tight angle.

Zenit’s Belgium midfielder Axel Witsel grabbed what proved to be the winning goal for the visitors three minutes later with a powerful low strike.

Champions League newcomers Ghent overcame the disadvantage of two dismissals to come from behind and draw 1-1 at home with Lyon in their Group H .

Ghent finished with nine men but goalkeeper Matz Sels made a one-handed penalty save just two minutes from time to ensure a share of the spoils in a drama-filled tie at the Artevelde Stadium.

The Belgian club’s debut in Europe’s premier club competition threatened to turn into a nightmare after Brecht Dejaegere was sent off four minutes before half-time for a studs-up challenge in a decision that seemed harsh on the part of Scottish referee William Collum.

Dejaegere was in tears as he departed the pitch and would have felt even worse 13 minutes into the second half when Lyon opened the scoring with substitute defender Christophe Jallett expertly heading home a corner.

But the lead lasted just 10 minutes before Danijel Milicevic equalised after a strong run down the wing and shot into the corner of the French team’s net.

With two minutes left, Thomas Foket was dismissed for a tug from behind after being caught on the wrong side of Lyon’s teenage substitute Aldo Kalulu and Lyon were awarded a penalty.

Alexandre Lacazette, seeking to end a recent goal drought, stepped up to take the spot kick but saw Sels stick up his hand to turn the effort over the crossbar.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.