April 4, 2018 / 8:38 PM / 15 days ago

Soccer-Roma own goals give Barcelona huge advantage

BARCELONA, April 4 (Reuters) - Barcelona capitalised on two disastrous own goals from AS Roma to take a huge step towards reaching the Champions League semi-finals for the first time in three years as they thrashed the Serie A side 4-1 at home in Wednesday’s quarter-final first leg.

Roma’s captain Daniele De Rossi hit an unstoppable shot into his own net to break the deadlock in the 38th minute of what had been a delicately poised game and a second own goal 10 minutes into the second half, this time by Greek defender Kostas Manolas, stretched the runaway La Liga leaders’ advantage.

Barca defender Gerard Pique piled more misery on the Italians four minutes later, mopping up on the rebound after Luis Suarez was thwarted by goalkeeper Alisson before Roma’s top scorer Edin Dzeko struck at the right end to give his side faint hope of a turnaround in the second leg.

Suarez effectively vanquished those hopes, however, by notching his side’s fourth goal three minutes from time, scoring for the first time in the Champions League in over a year.

Roma had managed the game well until De Rossi’s own goal and Dzeko could have won an early penalty when he was pushed over by Nelson Semedo and winger Diego Perotti failed to hit the target from a free header at the start of the second half. (Reporting by Richard Martin, editing by Ed Osmond)

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