Roma stuns Barcelona, advances to Champions League semifinal
Italian side Roma inflicted a shock defeat on Barcelona in the Champions League Tuesday night, overturning a heavy loss from the first leg to advance to the semifinals.
The win provided one of the most unlikely upsets in this year’s competition thus far, burying visitors Barcelona 3-0.
The win saw the Italian side — which has yet to concede at home in the tournament — book its place in the semifinals of the Champions League thanks to a second leg victory over the Spanish giants, one of the favorites of the competition, at the Stadio Olimpico in the Italian capital.
The 3-0 win on Tuesday, coupled with a solitary goal from the 4-1 encounter a week ago at the Camp Nou, evened the score to an aggregate 4-4, with Roma advancing on the away goals rule.
Despite being heavy favorites going into the match, Barcelona should have taken heed when Roma’s Bosnian striker Edin Dzeko opened the scoring on seven minutes.
The Catalans could not find a response and a Daniele de Rossi penalty just before the hour mark began to make the visitors sweat. A decisive header by the Greek Kostas Manolas eight minutes from time sealed the rout and sent the Spanish side out.
It was a moment of redemption for both de Rossi and Manolas, who had both scored seemingly disastrous own-goals in the first leg.
Barcelona and talisman Lionel Messi could not find a response. The upset marks only the third time a first-leg three goal deficit has been overturned in Champions League knock-out phases, according to UEFA.
Elsewhere in Europe, English side Liverpool capitalized on its 3-0 first-leg lead over fellow Premier League side Manchester City.
City, the runaway leaders in the English league, sank to the shock defeat last week and, while the side looked strong in the return in Manchester Tuesday with a goal from Jesus just two minutes into the tie, goals from Mohamed Salah and Firmino after the break put the tie to bed, ending with a 5-1 aggregate score.
On Wednesday Bayern Munich faces off against Spanish side Sevilla, with the German host — which secured the Bundesliga title on the weekend — looking to defend its 2-1 lead from the first leg.
Real Madrid, meanwhile, host Juventus in the Spanish capital in what will be Ronaldo’s 150th Champions League appearance. The Spanish giant will be confident of protecting its own 3-0 advantage — no side has ever overturned a three goal deficit away from home.
The draw for the semifinals will be held on Friday.