AS Roma produced one of the shocks of the season as they beat Barcelona 3-0 at Stadio Olimpico to send the La Liga leaders crashing out of the UEFA Champions League.
The hosts didn’t take much time to grab a foothold in the second tie, as Edin Dzeko ghosted past Samuel Umtiti before slotting the ball past Marc-Andre ter Stegen. With the aggregate score now reading 4-2, Roma needed two more goals to be in pole position to make the semi-finals.
Eusebio Di Francesco’s men dominated the proceedings for the rest of the first half, but failed to get the crucial goal. Early into the second half though, Dzeko was brought down by Gerard Pique, and Daniele De Rossi converted the resulting penalty to put the Giallorossi one goal away from triumphing.
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) April 10, 2018
With just eight minutes left in regulation time, Kostas Manolas headed in the tie-clinching goal from Cengiz Under’s corner as Roma reached the semi-finals for only the second time in their history. Barcelona, on the other hand, miss out on winning another treble this season, and The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over Ernesto Valverde’s men.
Marc-Andre ter Stegen: 6/10
Stood no chance at saving the final two goals, but could have done better to pile the pressure on Dzeko for the first goal, when he chose to stay rooted on his line. But, he made a vital save to deny the Bosnian at 2-0, although that would turn out to be irrelevant ultimately. Distribution wasn’t up to scratch on the night, though.
Nelson Semedo: 3/10
Roma put a twin-pronged pressure on him from Radja Nainggolan and a bullish Aleksandar Kolarov. With his hands full at the back, Semedo rarely got to advance forward, while also being beaten regularly in defence. Left his man unmarked in the dying stages, and he turned out to be the tie clincher, Manolas.
Gerard Pique: 3/10
Solid for the most part against a rampaging Dzeko, Pique absorbed a lot of the pressure smartly, especially in the air, also making a fine last-ditch tackle on Patrik Schick in the first half. But, a crucial mistake early into the second half helped Roma claw right back into the game as he brought Dzeko down to concede a penalty.
Samuel Umtiti: 3/10
If you’re defending like #Umtiti in AS Roma’s first goal by @EdDzeko , you don’t deserve to go through to semi-finals in the @ChampionsLeague . Well done by @OfficialASRoma ! #ucl #football #Roma #asroma #RomaBarca #ROMBAR pic.twitter.com/b3ou4XeEBG
— Lauri Jormanainen (@Lateriitti) April 11, 2018
A game to forget for Umtiti, who looks far from the assured centre-back who was one of the most important players for Barcelona in the first half of the season. The biggest of errors saw Dzeko run past him unchallenged before scoring the opener. Looked off pace at an alarming regularity.
Jordi Alba: 4/10
Another player who didn’t have much joy on the night, especially in the final third with Alessandro Florenzi pegging him back for large parts of the game. Alba was also guilty of going to sleep when Dzeko popped into the Barcelona box unmarked to score the first goal.
Sergi Roberto: 5/10
A game to forget for Roberto, who was supposed to double up with Semedo, both defensively and in attack. Apart from a chance early on, the Spaniard was largely anonymous, failing to provide the required cover to Semedo as Kolarov regularly advanced forward.
Ivan Rakitic: 4/10
Extremely poor by Rakitic’s lofty standards. The Croat just couldn’t create any impact, with the trio of Nainggolan, Daniele De Rossi and Kevin Strootman, who were all colossal in midfield, against whom he was often back pedalling instead of vice versa.
Sergio Busquets: 4/10
Still seems to be catching up to peak fitness after recovering from his injury, and it was telling on Tuesday. Another player who wasn’t given an inch by the Roma midfield trio, Busquets had too much on his plate on the night and was eventually taken off late into the second half.
Andres Iniesta: 4/10
Iniesta: “Was today my last CL match? It’s a possibility.” pic.twitter.com/lrKwcmwcZZ
— Barca Universal (@BarcaUniversal) April 10, 2018
Roma had their tactics on Iniesta spot on, with the Barcelona captain pressed aggressively by Schick and a free Roma midfielder to deny him even an inch of space. As a result the Spaniard just couldn’t link up with anyone, and was the first to be taken off. This might just have been his final game in the Champions League.
Lionel Messi: 4/10
There was absolutely nothing that Messi was able to do to stop the Roma juggernaut on the night. Mostly restricted to a few half chances as De Rossi kept a check on him all night, the Barcelona talisman also had a couple of free-kicks, although he could convert neither.
Luis Suarez: 3/10
If Messi was a non-factor, Suarez was even worse. As Roma denied Barcelona very little sniff at goal, the Uruguayan found himself increasingly isolated. As the frustration grew, he also got himself booked for a needless foul as his wait for an away goal in Champions League continued.
Andre Gomes: 4/10
On for Iniesta, Gomes did very little to change Barcelona’s fortunes and created absolutely no impact.