Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Roma dreaming of Kiev after magical recovery against Barcelona



Roma dreaming of Kiev after magical recovery against Barcelona

Roma defender Kostas Manolas (centre) celebrates after scoring the winner in their Champions League quarterfinal second leg with Barcelona on Tuesday night. AFP
Roma defender Kostas Manolas (centre) celebrates after scoring the winner in their Champions League quarterfinal second leg with Barcelona on Tuesday night. AFP

Roma dreaming of Kiev after magical recovery against Barcelona

Roma have their sights on Kiev and the Champions League final after completing a miracle comeback against Barcelona on Tuesday night to overhaul a three-goal first-leg deficit and take their place in the competition’s last four.

The Italian capital came alive after a magical night at the Stadio Olimpico in which Roma – fourth in Serie A and fresh from being booed off in a 2-0 defeat against Fiorentina at the weekend – swept Lionel Messi and co aside in front of a crowd that roared itself hoarse.

Trailing 4-1 after last week’s quarterfinal, first leg at the Camp Nou, Edin Dzeko, Daniele De Rossi and Kostas Manolas all scored to take them through to the semifinals on away goals against all the odds.

“Perhaps the greatest night in Roma’s history,” was how daily Il Fatto Quotidiano described the result on Twitter.

Car horns blared and fans poured into the streets across the Eternal City as supporters hailed an incredible result for a success-starved club.

The last time Roma got so far in Europe’s top competition was back in 1984, when the Giallorossi contrived to lose the final on penalties to Liverpool at their own ground.

In the intervening three decades they have won just one league title and four Italian Cups, but after seeing off what winning goalscorer Manolas called “the best team on the planet”, coach Eusebio Di Francesco wants his team to aim for May’s final in the Ukrainian capital.

“Why shouldn’t we believe? If you come all this way and get to the semi-finals, why shouldn’t you believe in getting to the final in Kiev,” he asked reporters after the historic win.

Pride restored

Roma have brought some pride back not just to Rome but to Italian football after the country’s humiliating failure to qualify for the World Cup earlier in the season.

Beating one of the giants from Spain, who hammered Italy 3-0 in qualifying for this year’s tournament in Russia, will be particularly sweet, especially after champions-elect Juventus were bashed 3-0 on their own patch by Real Madrid last week.

“Italy needed a European team, and that’s what we were tonight. Today is a great moment, but it’s not enough,” added Di Francesco.

“This team needs to aim for Kiev, and that’s it.”

Despite their patchy domestic form, which sees them battling with Inter Milan and local rivals Lazio for a space in next season’s Champions League, Roma are through to Friday’s draw – where Liverpool are potential opponents – on merit.

They haven’t conceded a goal at home in the whole competition and on Tuesday restricted Barcelona to just three shots on target despite the potent attacking firepower boasted by Ernesto Valverde’s side.

Barca could easily have already been three down by the time De Rossi slotted home the 58th-minute penalty that made it 2-0 on the night and had the Stadio Olimpico dreaming of victory.

Before that, Marc-Andre ter Stegen pulled off a brilliant 37th-minute save from a Dzeko header and off-form club-record signing Patrik Schick wasted two very presentable headed chances.

Instead it was up to Manolas to make Roma fans’ dreams a reality with an 83rd-minute header that sparked pandemonium on the pitch and in the stands.

MOST VIEWED

  • Purging Sihanoukville’s past with a new masterplan

    Amid illicit activities, haphazard development and abandoned projects, the coastal city of Sihanouk province needs a reset to move forward. A new masterplan might be the answer to shake off its seemingly mucky image to become the Shenzhen of the south Gun toting, shootouts, police

  • Chinese may be first in tourism revival: PM

    Cambodia's tourism industry is gearing up to roll out the red carpet for Chinese travellers after Prime Minister Hun Sen on September 17 indicated that the Kingdom could soon throw open its doors to international holidaymakers vaccinated against Covid-19 – starting with guests from China. Cambodia Chinese

  • Tourism concerns laid bare

    To ensure the success of plans to reopen the tourism market for international visitors, Cambodia must pay utmost attention to two primary determinants – the ongoing paradigm shift in domestic tourism services towards the ‘new normal’, and the factors influencing choices of destinations among foreign holidaymakers.

  • Covid jab drive for 6-11 age group to begin Sept 17

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has permitted Covid-19 vaccinations for over 1.8 million children aged 6-11 across the country from September 17 in order for them to return to school after a long hiatus. Hun Sen also hinted that vaccinations for the 3-6 age group will follow in

  • No ‘Crown Prince’ exists to buy France football club: ministry

    The Ministry of the Royal Palace has denied media reports that a Cambodian “Crown Prince” had purchased the AS Saint Etienne football club of France’s top-flight LIGUE 1 at the cost of €100 million ($117 million). In a press statement on September 19, the ministry stressed that Cambodia

  • Cambodian bride ‘badly treated, held captive’ by Chinese man seeks help

    A Cambodian woman who travelled to China to marry a Chinese man there was “badly treated” by her husband’s family and then had to be rescued and will be returned to Cambodia to ensure her safety. The rescue operation came about after the 25-year-old