Barcelona beat Roma in first leg of UWCL quarterfinals

Salma Paralluelo celebrates after scoring a goal for Barcelona against Roma in the Women's Champions League.
Salma Paralluelo celebrates after scoring a goal for Barcelona against Roma in the Women's Champions League.
Getty Images

Barcelona will take a slender advantage back to Camp Nou next week after Salma Paralluelo's first-half goal earned them a 1-0 win over Roma in the first leg of their Women's Champions League quarterfinal on Tuesday.

Paralluelo opened the scoring in the 34th minute at the Stadio Olimpico in front of a crowd of 39,454, a record attendance for a women's match played in Italy.

- Stream on ESPN+: LaLiga, Bundesliga, more (U.S.)

Barca racked up over 30 shots in total, including 11 on target, but were unable to add to their tally and still have work to do book their place in the semifinal for a fourth successive year.

Despite being on the back foot for the majority of the game, Roma did ask questions late in the game of Barca, who were grateful for some fine saves from goalkeeper Sandra Panos.

Roma have been one of the feel-good stories in European football this season. They lead Serie A Femminile by eight points and have reached the last eight of the Champions League for the first time in their history.

However, they were ranked as massive underdogs against a Barca side who were runners-up in the competition last year, winners in 2021 and who have won all 22 of their league games in Spain this season.

The difference between the two sides was on show in the first half, but Barca, who managed 14 shots before the break, had to wait until after the half hour mark to break the deadlock.

The 19-year-old Paralluelo, who gave up a career as a sprinter to sign for Barca last summer, did the damage, turning on the edge of the box before producing a good finish.

Barca should have added to their tally early in the second half. Striker Asisat Oshoala could have scored a hat trick on her own, but a combination of poor finishing and good goalkeeper from Camelia Ceasar kept her out.

Roma began to come into the tie and it took a fine block from Mapi Leon to prevent Valentina Giacinti from scoring. Former Barca forward Andressa Alves then shot wide with the goal gaping.

Still the home side attacked but they encountered Panos in fine form. The Barca stopper saved brilliantly from Manuela Giugliano's long-range effort and then again from Giacinti with what was almost the last kick of the game.

The teams meet again in Barcelona on March 29 for the decisive second leg.