FC Barcelona were just about perfect in the 2014 2015 UEFA Champions League. After winning five of their six group stage matches (they lost one, to Paris Saint Germain), Barca went on to easily edge out each of the football clubs they played in the knockouts. From their round of 16 triumph over Manchester City, to their 5-1 revenge against PSG in the quarters, all the way to their expert takedown of Bayern Munich in the semis, it was clear Barcelona were the frontrunners to win the tournament. By the time Barca were beating Juventus 3-1 to take the trophy, their victory felt like it had been a long-foregone conclusion. Now it is the beginning of the 2015 - 2016 season and Barcelona kick off UCL defense with an away game at AS Roma.

Because of their glorious run in last year's Champions League, Barcelona were the strong favorites to win their first match of this year's tournament. The game, played against AS Roma on Wednesday, September 16th, was the first step in Barca's UCL title defense. A win would have earned Barcelona a spot at or near they top of Group E, where they're competing against Roma, Bayer Leverkusen, and BATE Borisov.

AS Roma, it turned out, had other plans.

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The Goal of the Season?

To be fair, Barcelona were clearly the better soccer team for most of their September 16th match against Roma. The Wolves had the home field advantage, but Barca dominated possession 70-30 and even scored the first goal of the match. When that goal hit the back of the net-at the 21-minute mark, courtesy of Luis Suarez-it looked as if Barcelona's famous front line was going to run rampant over Roma's defense.

41 minutes into the match, though, just shy of halftime, Roma changed the game.

More specifically, Roma midfielder Alessandro Florenzi changed the game. From 64.4 yards out, the 24-year-old sent a high-flying kick well above the heads of Barca defenders. When the ball came back down to earth, it was somehow right on target to bounce off the far post and skitter into the net. Barcelona goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen was both stunned and powerless to stop it.

Not surprisingly, soccer press and football fans alike have roundly hailed Florenzi's goal. Yahoo Sports even went so far as to call the 64.4-yard marvel the goal of the season, jokingly stating that "all the other, as-of-yet unscored goals might as well give up now."

At very least, Florenzi's goal will make an automatic shortlist appearance next year when UEFA name their Goal of the Season finalists. Not only was the goal a stunning feat of accuracy and athleticism, but it also equalized the score and (ultimately) earned Roma a 1-1 draw in the match. Indeed, neither team scored at all in the second half, with the match locking into a clear stalemate as the minutes ticked by. Roma were on the defensive for most of the half, but successfully disabled Barcelona's usually unstoppable front line and kept both Lionel Messi and Neymar scoreless for the game.

The Next Steps for Group E

First off, Barcelona, with something to prove now, will host Bayer Leverkusen at Camp Nou. Bayer Leverkusen were the big winners of week one in Group E, beating BATE Borisov 3-0 to take the lead in the group. Once Barca have the home AS Roma Home Shirt 2015 - 2016field advantage on their side, we bet they will dismantle Leverkusen and leap right back into the fray. That is unless Bayer have a Florenzi-like surprise up their sleeve.

AS Roma, meanwhile, will head to Russia for their first encounter with BATE Borisov. And while Borisov will probably play slightly better on their home turf, Roma will probably have a pretty easy path to victory regardless.

Do you think Barcelona have what it takes to defend their Champions League title this season? Root for the football club today, by picking up a brand new Barcelona jersey 2015 2016 from the Soccer Box store!