Roma inflicted a shock defeat on Barcelona in the Champions League Tuesday night, overturning a heavy loss from the first leg to advance to the semifinals.
The win provided one of the most unlikely upsets in this year’s competition thus far, burying the Spanish visitors 3-0.
The win saw the Italian side – which has yet to concede at home in the tournament – book its place in the semifinals of the Champions League thanks to a second leg victory over the Spanish giants, one of the favorites of the competition, at the Stadio Olimpico in the Italian capital.
The 3-0 win on Tuesday, coupled with a solitary goal from the 4-1 encounter a week ago at the Camp Nou, evened the score to an aggregate 4-4, with Roma advancing on the away goals rule.
Roman fans predictably went berzerk at the final whistle, which put their team in the semifinals of Europe’s top competition for the first time since the 1983/84 season.
The jubilation even reportedly caught up Roma president James Palletta, who joined fans jumping into the fountain at the city’s Piazza del Popolo.
Despite being heavy favorites going into the match, Barcelona should have taken heed when Roma’s Bosnian striker Edin Dzeko opened the scoring on seven minutes.
The Catalans could not find a response and a Daniele de Rossi penalty just before the hour mark began to make the visitors sweat. A decisive header by the Greek Kostas Manolas eight minutes from time sealed the rout and sent the Spanish side out.
It was a moment of redemption for both de Rossi and Manolas, who had both scored seemingly disastrous own-goals in the first leg.
Barcelona, and its talisman Lionel Messi, were left without an answer. The upset marks only the third time a first-leg three goal deficit has been overturned in Champions League knock-out phases, according to UEFA.
One of the other times the feat was achieved was only last season, when Barcelona overturned the same margin against a Paris St. Germain team to knock the French side out.
Liverpool survives early scare
Elsewhere in Europe, English side Liverpool capitalized on its 3-0 first-leg lead over fellow Premier League side Manchester City.
City, the runaway leaders in the English league, sank to the shock defeat last week and, while the side looked strong in the return in Manchester Tuesday with a goal from Jesus just two minutes into the tie, goals from Mohamed Salah and Firmino after the break put the tie to bed, ending with a 5-1 aggregate score.
On Wednesday Bayern Munich faces off against Spanish side Sevilla, with the German host – which secured the Bundesliga title on the weekend – looking to defend its 2-1 lead from the first leg.
Real Madrid, meanwhile, host Juventus in the Spanish capital in what will be Ronaldo’s 150th Champions League appearance. The Spanish giant will be confident of protecting its own 3-0 advantage – no side has ever overturned a three goal deficit away from home.
The draw for the semifinals will be held on Friday.