Two days into this season’s Champions League, and we may already have our goal of the tournament, with the crowd at Rome’s Stadio Olimpico left in momentary raptures after a 50-yard shot from Roma fullback Alessandro Florenzi went off Barcelona goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen’s post and in, completing one of the more remarkable long distance goals in recent memory.
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— Tommy Mason (@tommymason006) September 16, 2015
On the rare occasion we see a long distance goal, as we did this summer from the United States’ Carli Lloyd in the Women’s World Cup final, it usually comes from closer to the center circle, after a quick midfield turnover gives the shooter a chance to catch a goalkeeper off his or her line. Today, however, Florenzi carried the ball from the edge of his defensive third over the center line, launching a hopeful shot as he was being closed down by a Barcelona defender.
— Carli Lloyd (@CarliLloyd) September 16, 2015
Ter Stegen, certainly caught off his line, gave Florenzi little margin for error, but the midfielder-cum-defender took advantage of the opening. Looping his shot over the Barcelona keeper at just the right angle, the nine-time Italian international put prayer off the left post, the ball bouncing in for an unlikely 31st minute equalizer.
Barcelona had taken the lead 10 minutes earlier through a header from Luis Suarez, who put home a lopping cross from Ivan Rakitic at two yards out. The Champions League holders maintained control of the match after their opener, but Florenzi’s shocking equalizer had the home team even just past the half-hour-mark.