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Roma Femminile: a breakthrough season in the Champions League.

Despite the odds being highly stacked against them, Roma will hope their UEFA Women’s Champions League journey continues past the quarter-final stage, as they look to overcome a 1-0 deficit against European heavyweights Barcelona on Wednesday evening.

A record crowd for Italian women’s football of 39,454 at Stadio Olmpico was witness to 19-year-old Salma Paralluelo’s first-half strike that was enough to give the current Spanish champions a 1-0 lead in the first leg of the quarter-final tie. The second leg will be held at the Camp Nou and Roma will be hoping to cause an upset against the Catalans.

Since establishing in 2018, after acquiring a Serie A license, the club has made a remarkable rise in the Champions League this season. Roma have also made their mark in the domestic top flight this season. Roma are currently leading the way in the league, four points above Juventus, and are on course for their first league title. Juventus have won the league every season since 2017, but this season their five-year title reign looks to come to an end.

Roma have also taken on the European stage this year. After successfully advancing through all of the Champions League qualifying rounds, Roma were placed in group B alongside Wolfsburg, St. Pölten and Slavia Praha.

The Italian club cruised through their group, finishing second, with their only loss being at the hands of last year’s champions, Wolfsburg. During the group stage, Roma drew 1-1 with Wolfsburg after a resilient display, eventually losing against the German club in the away fixture.

The quarter-final first leg against Barcelona was held at Roma’s main stadia: the first time for the women’s side, and the team put on a resilient display for the fans, who showed out in their numbers. Roma had chances to punish an uncharacteristically sloppy Barcelona side, but Salma Paralluelo’s first-half, long-range effort was enough to earn the Catalans the advantage in the tie.

Barcelona will go into the second leg following a 1-0 win over Real Madrid, moving them 13 points clear of La Liga. Roma haven’t been in league action since the first leg so have had time to prepare.

Although the odds will be against them when they face Barcelona on Wednesday night, Roma will hope to cause an upset and continue their first Champions League journey. Whatever the outcome it’s hard to argue that Roma haven’t had a remarkable first season in the Champions League.

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