Comebacks are not new in the history of football. But when it’s from an underdog against the overwhelming favourites, it is astounding.
Seldom do Barcelona lose games, but Roma did a good job on the Spanish giants in Tuesday’s meeting at the Stadio Olimpico.
The Catalan giants were considered one of the favourites to win the Champions League this season and had one foot in the semi-finals after thrashing Roma 4-1 at the Camp Nou.
However, the second leg of their quarter-final clash didn’t go to plan. Roma pressed and stopped Barca in one of the most memorable Champions League encounters. The Italians became the third club to overturn a three-goal deficit in the competition.
Goals from Edin Dzeko, Daniele De Rossi and Kostas Manolas unceremoniously dumped Barcelona out of the competition. Though the Italians advanced on the away-goal rule, they gave a good account of themselves as they progressed into semi-finals for the first time in their history.
Never underestimate an opponent
Roma were considered an underdog when the Champions League group stages were announced.
No one expected them to navigate past the likes of Chelsea and Atletico Madrid to qualify from the group of death but they did.
Stadio Olimpico has become Roma’s fortress
Roma’s Stadio Olimpico has been a fortress in Europe this season.
The Italian outfit are yet to concede a goal at home in the Champions League despite coming up against the likes of Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez, Eden Hazard and Antoine Griezmann.
When Messi is not playing, Barcelona are not playing
It wasn’t Lionel Messi’s day. The Barcelona talisman struggled to make an impact and the Catalans suffered as a result.
Barcelona have long depended on the Argentine to bail them out in games like this, but he failed to inspire his team to an aggregate victory.
One would have wondered if it wasn’t the same Messi that score a hat-trick over the weekend to preserve Barca’s unbeaten run in La Liga.
Against Roma, he only managed two shots on target and completed just 26 passes.
Barcelona could not handle Roma’s attacking intensity
Roma started with an attacking intensity that was simply too hot for the visitors to handle and the Catalans defence was breached three times for the first time this season.
The Italians had control of the game from the off and took just six minutes to open the scoring through Dzeko. Gerard Pique conceded a penalty which De Rossi converted inside of the hour mark for 2-0. Manolas was unmarked from a corner to head his side into the semi-final.
Roma will face Liverpool in the next round. Real Madrid lock horns with Bayern Munich.