Barcelona won 4-1 in the first leg of the Champions League quarterfinals and has all but secured its trip to the final four.

By 90Min
April 09, 2018

Barcelona head to Italy on Tuesday evening with one foot already in the Champions League semi finals following their 4-1 win over AS Roma last week. 

A brace of own-goals alongside finishes from Gerard Pique and Luis Suarez gave Ernesto Valverde's outfit a comfortable advantage as they head to a stadium where they have never claimed victory. 

Edin Dzeko gave the Serie A giants a glimmer of hope by grabbing an away goal, but with Catalonians most likely only needing one to kill the tie altogether, things do not look promising for Eusebio Di Francesco's outfit. 

So, ahead of what could potentially turn into a dead rubber contest early on, let's take a look at all you need to know. 


Recent Form

Barcelona warmed up for their visit to the Stadio Olimpico with a Lionel Messi-inspired 3-1 win over Leganes on Saturday. The Argentine netted all three goals to extend his side's advantage at the top of La Liga to 11 points as well as tie him level with Liverpool's Mohamed Salah in the race for the European Golden Boot. 

Rome, meanwhile, were the latest team to succumb to Fiorentina's recent resurgence; going down 2-0 at home to I Viola as Marco Benassi and Giovanni Simeone struck two first half goals. 

The defeat allowed Champions League rivals Lazio the chance to overtake them in the table, but thankfully for Giallorossi, Internazionale were also left stunned by Torino, meaning the fourth-placed side did not drop out of the Champions League places. 


Key Battle

Kostas Manolas vs Lionel Messi

As was the case in the first leg, Kostas Manolas will be one of several Roma players tasked with trying to keep Messi quiet on Tuesday evening.

For the most part, Giallorossi succeeded in limiting the Argentine's effect on proceedings during the opening encounter, with misfortune playing a large part in their current deficit. 

However, as was shown once again at the weekend, the 30-year-old can decide the match's outcome as he sees fit, and it is rare to see the magician endure two difficult evenings consecutively in the Champions League. 


Team News

Valverde will make a late call on whether to include Sergio Busquets from the outset on Tuesday evening, with the holding midfielder playing no part in his side's victory over Leganes after a recurrence of a toe injury at the weekend. 

Elsewhere, Jordi Alba, Samuel Umtiti and Andres Iniesta are all expected to return to the starting lineup after being afforded a rest on Saturday. 

Roma, meanwhile, have a clean bill of health and have no suspensions to deal with as they attempt to overcome the somewhat daunting task of netting three times without conceding against Barcelona. 

Di Francesco will be buoyed, however, as inspirational midfielder Radja Nainggolan is once again available for selection after missing the first leg. 


Prediction

Although Barcelona struggled to find their rhythm during last week's meeting, the fact they still walked away with a three-goal lead is telling of the difference in class between the two sides. 

Barca have never claimed victory against Roma at the Stadio Olimpico previously, and it would not be surprising to see that trend continue on Tuesday. 

However, Giallorossi simply do not possess the talent within their squad to overcome the daunting deficit they face, and even if they escape defeat on the night, the likelihood is their Champions League campaign is coming to an end at the quarter-final stage. 

Score Prediction: AS Roma 1-1 Barcelona

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