Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar may have been lining up in the Barcelona side, but it was Roma’s Alessandro Florenzi who struck one of the great Champions League goals at the Stadio Olimpico on Wednesday. With his side trailing 1-0 after an early Suarez goal, the versatile Italy international came forward from his right-back role and struck an extraordinary shot from the just over the halfway line, over the head of goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen, off the far post and into the net.
The Barcelona goalkeeper may have been caught off his line, but the shot was hit with such power and accuracy from such an audacious position, that it would be misguided to take anything away from a goal Florenzi is unlikely to ever forget. Adding to the joy for the 24-year-old, it was his first ever goal in the Champions League.
The effort came at a crucial stage for Roma, too, as they looked to peg back the Champions League holders. In a group also containing Bayer Leverkusen, last season’s Serie A runners-up face a tough challenge to improve on last season’s early exit and make it through to the competition’s knockout stage. For Barcelona, the match was the start of their quest to become the first club to win back-to-back Champions League titles.