Barcelona 1 - Roma 1
Puyol, Christanval, Frank De Boer, Sergi (Xavi 75'); Luis Enrique, Cocu, Motta
(Rochemback 68'); Rivaldo; Kluivert, Saviola (Overmars 56'). 4-3-1-2.
Barcelona saved a point in their Champions League game against Roma thanks to a late strike from Patrick Kluivert. The Italians had come to Spain with a defensive line up looking to score on the breakaway, and they did just that when ex Real Madrid defender Panucci picked up Candela's free kick to beat Reina just before the hour mark. Fabio Capello's side had been looking dangerous up to that point, with wingbacks Cafu and Candela both making inroads down their respective flanks, and both had gone close with efforts before the break. Rexach had decided to include B team midfielder Motta in his starting line up, leaving Xavi on the bench, but the Brazilian youngster was clearly nervous and almost gifted a goal to Totti early on. However he did test Antonioli with a shot a few minutes later, and Saviola should have done better on the follow up when the keeper failed to hold on to the shot.
Rexach made changes in the second half, bringing on Overmars just before Roma scored and then Rochemback. Antonioli saved well from Rivaldo, and with time running out Barça finally reverted to Xavi. That improved matters, but the frustration of the fans was evident when referee Gilles Vessière ignored the home team's claims for a penalty when Rivaldo was brought down by the keeper. It was eventually left up to Barcelona's best player this season Puyol to save the day, and with seven minutes to go he chased down Candela by the right corner flag with little hope of success. However somehow he won the ball off the French full back, and his cross found an unmarked Kluivert who gratefully blasted the ball in to the back of the net. It was only a point, but with Liverpool and Galatasaray drawing as well Barça stay top of their group with five points, two ahead of Galatasaray and Roma and three ahead of Liverpool. Still they have a difficult programme ahead, starting with next Tuesday's match at Roma.