WOW ! WHAT A COMEBACK !
AS Roma pulled off one of the biggest Uefa Champions League shock, as they thrashed FC Barcelona 3-0 in the quarterfinal second leg at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome, to reach the Semifinals on away goals.
Barcelona won the first leg 4-1, despite of Roma playing really well and were expected to do enough in the second leg to qualify for the semifinals of the Champions League for the first time in 3 years.
Edin Dzeko used his strength to give Roma an early lead, as the home side were all over Barca in the first half and created many good chances.
Dzeko was again instrumental, as the Bosnian won a crucial penalty for Roma in the 57th minute, which Daniele De Rossi converted well to make it 2-0.
Kostas Manolas headed home the crucial third goal in the 82nd minute to make it 4-4 on aggregate, as the Stadio Olimpico erupted at the final whistle.
Roma became only the third team in Champions League history to overturn a first-leg defeat of 3 goals or more, after Deportivo La Coruna against AC Milan in 2004 and Barcelona against Paris St-Germain last season.
EUSEBIO DI FRANCESCO –
Although we have had very good performances in Serie A, it is only now that we are reaping the rewards, for the hard work we have done. I made this choice to create more width, allow more counter-attacks and bring rapidity, but what really changed was the philosophy of the side and we have to continue like this now. Of course we should believe in the Final.
EDIN DZEKO –
I have never seen Barcelona struggle so much. We pressed them constantly from the first minute. We all believed, even if everyone else gave us a five per cent chance. We knew it’d be tough to win 3-0, but now we’ve done it in such a splendid way, I can safely say Roma are deservedly in the Champions League semi-final. Every time we’ve faced the big clubs, we have won or got a positive result. Now, we want the Champions League final.
DANIELE DE ROSSI –
It would’ve been a triumph for any team, but particularly for us, for the dimension Roma always had in Europe, it’s truly incredible. Now we have to take another step, not think we’re in the semi-final and have already achieved the maximum. I don’t believe that we have. We knew it would be difficult, but we had that little bit of belief. All the credit to the Coach, because he invented this formation two days ago, drilled it into our heads and it worked wonders.
— AS Roma English (@ASRomaEN) April 10, 2018
ERNESTO VALVERDE –
AS Roma took us out of our comfort zone. We can only keep our heads up because there’s no other way. They had a great game, they overcame us and we have to congratulate them. We weren’t able to play our game and the dressing room has been very affected, although it’s normal after a defeat like this. We have to recover because we’re still in two competitions, which we want to win.
SERGIO BUSQUETS –
Its the worst experience of my career. We went out in a similar way last season.We’re out of the Champions League, which we didn’t want after a good result in the first leg but that’s football. They took us to their place and created chances against us. We didn’t position ourselves well, that’s why they won and we didn’t.
— Adriano Del Monte (@adriandelmonte) April 10, 2018
KEY OBSERVATIONS –
#1 This was a tactical masterpiece from AS Roma manager Eusebio Di Francesco, who changed the formation from their usual 4-3-3 to 3-4-1-2 for this match. He played 3 tall and strong central defenders and asked his midfielders and attackers to press very high, because of which Barca either lost the ball near their own penalty area or they were forced to play it long, which Roma defenders won on most of the occasions.
#2 Edin Dzeko was the most important player over the two legs, as he scored 2 goals and won that crucial penalty. He was great with his hold-up play in both the matches and had Barcelona’s central defenders – Gerard Pique and Samuel Umtiti in his pocket.
#3 AS Roma’s Daniele De Rossi and Kostas Manolas, who were excellent in this match, made up for their own goals in the first leg at the Camp Nou, as both the players scored most important goals of their career, to take Roma to the Champions League semifinals.
#4 FC Barcelona and Manchester City, two of the favourites to win this seasons Champions League got knocked out in the quarterfinals, because of their poor defensive performances. This shows that the Champions League is a completely different competition, where a team cannot win, without paying attention to a great element of the game, which is – defending.
PLAYER RATINGS –
AS ROMA –
Manolas(9) Fazio(8) Jesus(8)
Florenzi(8.5) Nainggolan(8) De Rossi(9) Strootman(8) Kolarov(8)
Schick(7) Dzeko(9.5) – MOTM
FC BARCELONA –
Semedo(5) Pique(5) Umtiti(5) Alba(6)
Roberto(6) Rakitic(6) Busquets(6.5) Iniesta(6)