Bosnian striker Edin Dzeko scored one goal and earned a penalty to help Roma overcome three-goal deficit from the first leg of the UEFA Champions League quarterfinal, and eliminate Barcelona on away goals rule.
Barcelona won the first leg at Camp Nou 4-1, meaning that the Giallorossi needed a comeback that had been pulled off only twice before - by Barcelona last season against Paris Saint-Germain, and by Deportivo La Coruna 14 years ago against AC Milan - and Eusebio Di Francesco’s side got off to a perfect start when Dzeko opened the scoring after just six minutes.
Roma then wasted a number of chances, and finally doubled their lead when Daniele De Rossi converted from the penalty spot just before the hour, after Gerard Pique fouled Dzeko in the box.
Greek defender Kostas Manolas - who, just like De Rossi, scored an own goal in last week’s first leg - dealt the final blow to Barcelona’s Champions League campaign, scoring a header with eight minutes remaining on the clock.
“It was incredible, crazy, I do not know how to describe it. But at the end we did it when definitely nobody believed in us (…) The first goal helped us a lot and pushed us forward even more, with our great fans behind us”, Dzeko told Uefa.com after the match.
This is the first time that Roma has reached the last four since it lost the 1984 final to Liverpool on penalties at its own stadium. Also, Roma is yet to concede a goal at home in this year’s Champions League.
Also on Tuesday evening, Manchester City required a similar comeback, trailing 3-0 from the first leg of their quarterfinal tie with Liverpool.
For the entire first half, it looked as if Pep Guardiola’s side might pull it off, as Gabriel Jesus’ goal inside two minutes cut the home team’s deficit and City was by far the better side.
But Leroy Sane had goal wrongly ruled out for offside just before the half time, and with Guardiola watching the game from the stands for his frustrated reaction to the poor refereeing decision, Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino scored two second-half goals to knock City out of the Champions League.
Champions League resumes on Wednesday night with remaining two second-leg quarterfinal matches: holders Real Madrid take on Juventus after beating them 3-0 eight days ago in Turin, while Bayern Munich hopes to defend a 2-1 lead from the first leg of their quarterfinal tie against Sevilla.