Barcelona cannot afford to relax

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The Independent Football

Carles Rexach likes football to be a simple game. "Their goal surprised us, because our plan was to score first and it was the other way around," said the Barcelona coach after his side were held to a 1-1 draw by Roma in their Champions' League Group B game on Wednesday.

The Catalans were only saved by a late Patrick Kluivert effort after Christian Panucci had put Roma into a surprise lead, against the run of play, with a 57th-minute goal which came as a wake-up call for Rexach's team. "I am not happy, because the idea was to win the game," Rexach said. "If we wanted to be relaxed, we should have won the game."

Barça cannot take their foot off the pedal yet, for they lead Group B by just two points from Roma and Galatasaray, with Liverpool a further point adrift. "If we had won, we would have been 80 per cent qualified for the next phase," Rexach said, "but people shouldn't get nervous because if we get a point in Rome that could be very important."

Barça visit Roma in their Stadio Olimpico next Tuesday, as the Champions' League reverse fixtures begin. "We will go there to win because if we go looking for a draw we will get beaten," Rexach said. "We can't leave everything until the day we play Liverpool."

Bayern Munich returned to Germany bruised but with pride intact and a quarter-final place within their grasp. Their goalless Group A draw at Boavista was a game to forget, but Ottmar Hitzfeld believes the result may prove vital.

"We have won an important point," the Bayern coach said. "Naturally we wanted to win the match, but we saw that Boavista are a team which resists well, closes down space and plays very aggressively."

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