Roma stun Barca on away goals

Written by on April 11, 2018

Roma produced one of the great Champions League comebacks by beating Barcelona 3-0 at the Stadio Olimpico to secure a 4-4 aggregate draw and reach the semi-finals on away goals.

Trailing 4-1 from the first leg, Roma got one of the three goals they needed in the sixth minute through Edin Dzeko, who scored the his side’s crucial away goal in the first leg at the Nou Camp.

Barca had only conceded three goals in the competition all season so Eusebio Di Francesco’s side still faced a significant task after the break but Daniele De Rossi’s penalty made it 4-3 on aggregate in the 58th minute, edging them closer to a stunning turnaround.

With time running out, Kostas Manolas (83) grabbed the crucial third as Roma became only the third side in Champions League history to overturn a three-goal deficit after the first leg in the knockout stages to reach the last four for only the second time in their history.

 

Barca, meanwhile, will be left wondering how they failed to reach the semi-finals, with a poor display ending their chances of winning the treble this season.

The night started in perfect fashion for Roma, who flew out of the blocks, and they got the early goal they craved in the sixth minute when Dzeko brought down De Rossi’s pass before poking the ball past Marc-Andre ter Stegen.

The goal brought the Stadio Olimpico to life and the hosts continued to look dangerous almost doubling their lead on the night, but an unmarked Patrik Schick headed Federico Fazio’s excellent cross wide.

Barcelona, who were being pressed all over the pitch by Roma, could not get going as the hosts continued to create openings, Ter Stegen tipping Dzeko’s header over the crossbar before the Bosnia striker failed to hit the target from Aleksandar Kolarov’s corner.

Barca created history of their own last season by becoming the first team overturn a 4-0 first-leg deficit to advance, but when Gerard Pique pulled down Dzeko in the box they were staring down the barrel of a Roma comeback. De Rossi stepped up to convert the spot kick, leaving the hosts needing one more unanswered goal with just over half an hour left to play.

Minutes later, Barcelona were furious when Fazio, who was booked in the first half for a foul on Luis Suarez, escaped a further caution for a trip on Andres Iniesta.

It proved to be a crucial moment in the game as Roma continued to pin Barcelona back, but time was starting to run out as De Rossi, Radja Nainggolan and substitute Cengiz Under all missed excellent chances.

They eventually got the crucial third eight minutes from time as Manolas ran across the near post to head home Under’s corner, sparking wild celebrations in the stands from the home fans.

Ernesto Valverde threw on Ousmane Dembele and Paco Alcacer in desperate search of a goal but Roma were defending for their lives, blocking shots from Lionel Messi and Suarez.

The visitors threw the kitchen sink at the hosts in the final stages and there was one final chance in stoppage time as Alisson’s clearance fell to Dembele, but the France international’s shot drifted inches over the crossbar as Roma held on to complete an unlikely comeback win.

Man of the Match – Edin Dzeko

There were heroes all over the pitch on what was a historic night for Roma.

Alisson, Manolas and De Rossi all stood out for the hosts with brilliant performances but it was Dzeko, who stole the show at the Stadio Olimpico.

The former Manchester City striker was unplayable at times, scoring his side’s first before winning the penalty for De Rossi’s second – he was a constant thorn in the side for Pique and Samuel Umtiti.

The 32-year-old’s goal against Barca means he has now scored in three consecutive Champions League appearances for only the second time in his career. It also means he has now also scored three goals in his last three Champions League games against Barcelona, more than he has netted against any other club in the competition.

Roma are back in Serie A action on Sunday when they face city rivals Lazio at 7.45pm.

Meanwhile, Barcelona will look to bounce back and continue their unbeaten season in La Liga when they take on Valencia at the Nou Camp on Saturday (3.15pm).


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