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Alessandro Florenzi Goal 'My Fault,' Says Luis Enrique After Roma vs. Barcelona

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistSeptember 17, 2015

ROME, ITALY - SEPTEMBER 16:  Alessandro Florenzi of AS Roma celebrates after scoring the goal 1-1 during the UEFA Champions League Group E match between AS Roma and FC Barcelona, at Olimpico Stadium on September 16, 2015 in Rome, Italy.  (Photo by Giuseppe Bellini/Getty Images)
Giuseppe Bellini/Getty Images

There are some moments in football, like Alessandro Florenzi’s remarkable goal for Roma against Barcelona in the Champions League on Wednesday, which seem completely unpreventable. But Blaugrana boss Luis Enrique has suggested it’s his fault the Italian scored such a sensational strike in the 1-1 draw.

Florenzi picked the ball up just inside his own half on the sideline, looked up and looped a sumptuous shot over Barcelona goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen to equalise for the Giallorossi. The German stopper may have been a little far off his line, but Enrique insisted that was by his instruction and has suggested Florenzi was fortunate to score, per Dermot Corrigan of ESPN FC:

[Florenzi] is a good player, but he has been very lucky. He took a chance and scored a goal. Well done to him—but this is a problem we will have given the type of defence we play with.

The goal is my fault—we tell our keepers to play like that. But I'd bet nobody will score another one against us.

Barcelona's coach Luis Enrique gestures during the UEFA Champions League football match between  AS Roma and FC Barcelona at the Rome Olympic stadium, on September 16, 2015.        AFP PHOTO / ALBERTO PIZZOLI        (Photo credit should read ALBERTO PIZZO
ALBERTO PIZZOLI/Getty Images

Here’s another look at the goal scored by Florenzi, which left the Stadio Olimpico stunned on Wednesday evening, per Copa90:

COPA90 @COPA90

What. A. Goal. #Florenzi https://t.co/P9rtZhrdXg

Barcelona were by far the superior team on the night, carving out a host of chances but showcasing an unfamiliar profligate streak in front of goal.

But great credit must go to Roma, who dug in well after Luis Suarez’s opening goal for the visitors, got back on level terms thanks to a swing of Florenzi’s right foot and had chances to nick another goal on the counter-attack.

Some have been critical of Ter Stegen in the wake of the goal.
Some have been critical of Ter Stegen in the wake of the goal.Denis Doyle/Getty Images

Looking at the goal itself, there are some who have been critical of Ter Stegen for his positioning. As we can see here courtesy of OptaJose, he does seem a little vulnerable from distance too:

OptaJose @OptaJose

5 - 5 of the last 6 goals conceded by FC Barcelona from outside the box have been conceded by Ter Stegen (all comp.) #UCL. Trend

Indeed, although Enrique was boisterous in insisting Barcelona will not concede a goal of similar style again this season, they did concede from a similar distance in the Spanish Super Cup against Athletic Club in August. This time it was Mikel San Jose making Ter Stegen look a little foolish:

But the German is less culpable on this occasion. As Enrique notes, he will have been instructed to play advanced and do his best to snuff out Roma counter-attacks. But on this occasion, the attacking player has taken the shot early, from a tight angle and has struck it with a perfect trajectory, just clipping the post on its way in.

As noted by sports journalist Rafael Hernandez, laying the blame at the goalkeeper despite the genius of the strike seems very harsh:

Rafael Hernández @RafaelH117

There’s no complaining about that goal, simply impossible to predict that. Blaming ter Stegen for that? No way.

Even Barcelona defender Gerard Pique paid tribute to Florenzi’s goal in the aftermath of the match, hailing it as one the best he’s seen:

Gerard Piqué @3gerardpique

It was crazy! When I saw the goal, I didn't believe it! One of the best goals I've received in my career. https://t.co/oPLa9sLTbJ

Enrique seems to be taking the pressure off his player, who has been criticised in some quarters. So often in the modern game the minutiae of every moment is analysed in unforgiving detail, but sometimes it’s better to sit back and just admire the technical talent and brazen ambition required to score such a goal.

Florenzi should take all the credit for an incredible goal.
Florenzi should take all the credit for an incredible goal.Riccardo De Luca/Associated Press

Ter Stegen will learn from the moment too and he bounced back well in the rest of the game.

Let’s not forget, despite his prosperous debut campaign for Barcelona, he’s only 23 years old and still has plenty to learn about goalkeeping at the very highest level. Still, on this occasion, to hold him accountable would be extraordinarily harsh indeed.

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