UEFA Champions League | Roma 3 (4) – Barcelona 0 (4)

Roma created one of the most spectacular comebacks in the UEFA Champions League after securing a 3-0 win over Barcelona to go through to the semi-final.

Photo: Christine Borg
Photo: Christine Borg

Roma had a mountain to climb to overcome Barcelona. The Giallorossi needed at least a 3-0 win in order to progress as Barcelona arrived in Rome with a 4-1 advantage.

Roma were definitely the better side through-out the first half and kept Barcelona under pressure.

The Catalans went close after three minutes. Lionel Messi passed the ball towards Sergi Roberto and the latter saw his shot being neutralised by Alisson Becker.

However, Roma hit back and managed to break the deadlock on the 6th minute. Daniele De Rossi floated the ball forward towards Edin Dzeko who went past the defence and placed the ball past Marc-Andre` Ter Stegen.

This goal filled Roma’s players with encouragement and they went close on the 23th minute. From a corner, Aleksandar Kolarov delivered a cross towards Patrik Schick whose header went slightly over.

Roma lost a great chance to double their advantage on the 29th minute. Federico Fazio sent the ball towards the unmarked Schick who guided a header slightly off target.

Ter Stegen was on the alert to deny Roma on the 27th minute. Dzeko received a cross from Alessandro Florenzi and powered an effort which was tipped behind by the German goalkeeper.

Roma remained superior inside the second half and increased their advantage on the 57th minute. Dzeko was brought down inside the penalty area by Gerard Pique and the referee pointed towards the spot after consulting with the assistant behind goal. Daniele De Rossi took charge of the spot kick and converted.

The Italian side kept on insisting and created another chance on the 67th minute. Kevin Strootman lifted the ball inside the penalty area towards Radja Nainggolan and the Belgian midfielder hit a low drive which was held by Ter Stegen.

Three minutes later, Florenzi managed to find De Rossi inside the goal area, but the Italian’s effort travelled past the post.

Barcelona finally replied on the 74th minute. Messi weaved his way into the final third of the pitch and pulled a trigger from the edge of the penalty area which Alisson managed to block.

Roma nearly scored their third goal on the 79th minute. Florenzi lifted a dangerous cross towards Kolarov whose effort forced a fine save from Barcelona’s shot stopper.

 Eusebio Di Francesco’s men succeeded three minutes later. From a corner, Cengiz Under’s delivery was met by Kostas Manolas who headed the ball home to the joy of Roma’s supporters.

Barcelona had a desperate chance two minutes into the additional time. Following a cross by Ivan Rakitic, Alisson failed to neutralise as the ball fell into the path of Ousmane Dembele. The Barcelona player saw the goalkeeper out of his position and attempted to place the ball inside the net, but his effort ended up marginally over.

In the remaining minutes, Roma held firm to seal their place in the semi-final of the UEFA Champions League.

Roma starting line-up: Alisson Becker, Radja Nainggolan, Juan Jesus, Kevin Strootman, Edin Dzeko, Alexsandar Kolarov, Patrik Schick, Daniele De Rossi, Alessandro Florenzi, Kostas Manolas, Federico Fazio

Barcelona starting line-up: Marc Andre` Ter Stegen, Nelson Semedo, Gerard Pique, Ivan Rakitic, Sergio Busquets, Andres Iniesta, Luis Suarez, Lionel Messi, Jordi Alba, Sergio Roberto, Samuel Umtiti

Referee: Clement Turpin (France)

Assistant Referees: Nicolas Danos, Cyril Gringore

Additional Assistant Referees: Ruddy Buquet, Nicolas Rainville

Fourth Official:  Hicham Zakrani