Barca Stunned as Roma Heads Through

Roma players celebrate the team’s third goal scored by Greek defender Kostas Manolas.Roma players celebrate the team’s third goal scored by Greek defender Kostas Manolas.

Roma reached the semifinals of EUFA Champions League with a stunning 3-0 win over Barcelona at Stadio Olimpico on Tuesday in Rome to secure an improbable aggregate win on away goals.

The Giallorossi had trailed 4-1 after the first leg, but they blew La Liga’s leading side in the second leg of the quarterfinal encounter as goals from Edin Dzeko, Daniele De Rossi and Kostas Manolas clinched a dramatic comeback, wrote.

Dzeko was sublime throughout and netted early before winning a penalty after the break for De Rossi to pull Roma to within one goal of the last four.

An out-of-sorts Barca still looked as though they would do enough to scrape through as chances came and went for the hosts, but Manolas - who, like De Rossi, had put through his own net at Camp Nou - headed home eight minutes from time to put Eusebio Di Francesco’s side in the driving seat.

Although the visitors suddenly mustered a challenge, they could not force a decisive goal and Lionel Messi and team mates crashed out in scarcely believable circumstances.

Roma last reached the last four of Europe’s premier club competition in 1983-84 when it lost to Liverpool in the final.

 Quest for Goals

Roma tackled its task with gusto but their quest for goals immediately left gaping holes at the back and Messi’s pass freed Sergi Roberto for the game’s first opening, Alisson smothering a low drive.

But Dzeko took his chance at the other end after six minutes. The former Manchester City man ran beyond Samuel Umtiti to meet De Rossi’s pass and toe an untidy finish past Marc-Andre ter Stegen, generating ample noise and belief in the stands.

Champions League debutant Patrik Schick nodded high and wide following a corner, before squandering a huge opportunity with another header from Federico Fazio’s cross that flashed past the left-hand post.

And then it was Dzeko’s turn to twice go for goal with his head; the first effort forcing Ter Stegen to turn the ball over the top, while the second looped awkwardly behind.

It was Dzeko’s sublime center-forward play that set up the second. He bullied his way past Gerard Pique into the area and then went to ground under a tug and a trip, allowing De Rossi to rattle home a penalty.

Radja Nainggolan’s volley was held by Ter Stegen as Barcelona failed to stem the flow of chances, with De Rossi heading wide shortly afterwards.

Ter Stegen parried a Stephan El Shaarawy effort away from the goal-line shortly after he arrived from the bench, but the decisive goal would soon arrive as Manolas nodded beyond the rooted goalkeeper from Cengiz Under’s corner.

Although Barcelona pushed hard at the end of a dismal display, it could find no way through as it fell victim to one of the greatest comebacks in European history.

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