Sports Xtra

CL: Roma stage stunning comeback to knock-out Barca
CL: Roma stage stunning comeback to knock-out Barca

CL: Roma stage stunning comeback to knock-out Barca

Written by Gideon Sarpong
Category:

Roma pulled off a sensational second-leg comeback to beat Barcelona 3-0 and reach the Champions League semi-finals on away goals.

Barca were heavy favourites to progress after a 4-1 first-leg win, but fell apart to Roma's brilliant showing.

Defender Kostas Manolas scored the crucial third goal, heading in at the near post with seven minutes remaining.

Edin Dzeko struck early to give Roma hope and Daniele de Rossi added a second-half penalty.

The crowd at the Stadio Olimpico erupted at the final whistle as the Roma substitutes and coaching staff piled on to the pitch to celebrate with the players.

There were tears in the stands from those watching, not quite believing what they had witnessed.

Roma deserve superb win

Roma became only the third team in Champions League history to overturn a first-leg defeat of three goals or more - Deportivo La Coruna against AC Milan in 2003 and Barcelona against Paris St-Germain last season.

On this occasion, runaway Spanish league leaders Barcelona were on the receiving end of an unthinkable result.

They were looking at a treble of trophies, having equalled the La Liga record of 38 unbeaten games at the weekend and reaching the Copa del Rey final.

But they had no answer to Roma's high-tempo, energetic performance which brought a richly deserved victory.

Ex-Manchester City striker Dzeko, whose former team were knocked out by Liverpool in Tuesday's other quarter-final, set Roma on their way by poking in from close range.

The Bosnia striker also had a header tipped over and Czech forward Patrik Schick nodded wide from a promising position.

Roma, fourth in Serie A, kept up the pressure in the second period and were awarded a penalty just before the hour mark when Gerard Pique bundled Dzeko over in the box and De Rossi despatched the spot-kick.

With time running out, Cengiz Under whipped in a cross towards the front post which Greece defender Manolas rose highest to meet and covert to spark jubilant scenes.

More to follow.