ROME (Reuters) – AS Roma pulled off one of the great Champions League comebacks by knocking Barcelona out with a remarkable 3-0 win in their quarter-final second leg on Tuesday, overcoming a 4-1 deficit from the first leg to reach the last four on away goals.
Roma’s Kostas Manolas headed the decisive third goal in the 82nd minute, putting the Italians in the semi-finals for the first time since they reached the European Cup final in 1984 and compensating for his own goal in the first leg at the Nou Camp.
Roma forward Edin Dzeko had opened the scoring when he beat the offside trap and latched onto a perfectly weighted through ball from Daniele De Rossi to score in the sixth minute, lifting the hopes of the boisterous home fans in the Olympic Stadium.
Captain De Rossi converted a penalty in the 58th for the hosts after Dzeko was fouled by Gerard Pique, giving Roma a deserved second goal after Dzeko and his Czech strike partner Patrik Schick missed two clear chances each before the break.
Barca fielded the team that thrashed Roma in the first leg with the help of two own goals and were overwhelming favourites to go through but the five-times European champions barely got a foothold in the game after falling behind to Dzeko’s opener.
The visitors’ Sergi Roberto squandered the first chance of the game but after that Barcelona struggled to respond to Roma’s constant waves of attacks until substitute Ousmane Dembele whistled a long-range shot just over the bar in added time.
The runaway La Liga leaders had not lost in the Champions League this term until visiting Rome but slumped out at the quarter-final stage for the third year in a row after being eliminated by Juventus last season and Atletico Madrid in 2016.
It was a reversal of fortune for Barcelona who last term pulled off the greatest comeback in Champions League history by overcoming a 4-0 loss to Paris St Germain, becoming only the second team after Deportivo La Coruna in 2004 to progress after losing the first leg by at least a three-goal deficit.
Roma had lost their last two quarter-final ties to Manchester United and their only appearance in a final was in 1984, when they were defeated by Liverpool, who join them in Friday’s semi-final draw after knocking out Manchester City.