Champions League: Roma rise from the dead, eliminate Barcelona
Rome: AS Roma upset FC Barcelona 3-0 in the second leg of the Champions League quarter-final, advancing to the last-four of Europe's elite club football tournament for the first time since 1983 by virtue of their away goal in Spain.
The Catalan giants entered Tuesday's showdown here leading 4-1 after the first leg only to lave the field dejected, as the hosts rode on goals from Eden Dzeko (sixth minute), Daniele De Rossi (58th, penalty) and Kostas Manolas (82nd) to tie the aggregate score 4-4. But the away goal scored in the first leg by Dzeko gave them the advantage to enter the semi-finals.
At the Stadio Olimpico, Roma, playing with a tweaked 3-4-2-1 formation, got off to a perfect start in the sixth minute, setting off pandemonium among the 56,000 fans. Bosnian striker Dzeko received a long aerial ball from midfielder Daniele De Rossi and got past right-back Jordi Alba before launching a strike that made it 1-0 on the night for the hosts, reports Efe. Roma went on to dominate for the balance of the first half and would have increased their advantage if Czech international Patrik Schik hadn't squandered a pair of good chances before Barcelona keeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen stopped Dzeko's header in the 37th minute. Despite conceding the goal, Barcelona went to the dressing room leading 4-2 on aggregate and betrayed no sign of panic. The hosts began the second half where they left off, remaining firmly on the front foot against a strangely passive Barça side. In the 58th minute, Gerard Pique fouled Dzeko in the box and the referee awarded a penalty, converted by captain De Rossi to bring Roma within one goal on aggregate. Ter Stegen came up with a great stop in the 79th minute but Greek defender Manolas scored on a header three minutes later.