ROME: Roma pulled off an extraordinary comeback with a 3-0 win over Barcelona on Tuesday to reach the Champions League semifinals after overturning a three-goal deficit from the first leg.
The Giallorossi advanced on away goals despite losing 4-1 in the first leg of the quarterfinals.
Center back Kostas Manolas scored the decisive goal with a header from a corner in the 82nd minute amid a deafening atmosphere inside the Stadio Olimpico.
Roma had begun the comeback early when Edin Dzeko controlled an over-the-top pass between two defenders and poked in after six minutes for his sixth goal in this season’s competition.
Then near the hour mark, Dzeko earned a penalty that Daniele De Rossi converted.
Barcelona strikers Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez hardly threatened as Roma dominated possession for long stretches and stifled the Catalan club with high pressure.
In Tuesday’s other quarterfinal, Liverpool reached the Champions League after recovering from conceding a goal inside two minutes against Manchester City to win 2-1 thanks to second-half strikes by Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino.
Gabriel Jesus’ early goal raised belief inside Etihad Stadium that one of the most unlikely Champions League comebacks was on, with Liverpool having won the first leg 3-0 at Anfield last week.
City’s attacking lineup was always susceptible to the counter-attack, however. And off one of them, Salah collected a loose ball, rounded goalkeeper Ederson Moraes and deftly chipped in the equalizer in the 56th for his 39th goal of the season.
With City now needing four goals in barely half an hour to advance, Liverpool knew a spot in the last four for the first time in 10 years was there for the taking. Firmino made sure of it by curling in the team’s second goal in the 77th.
Liverpool, who won 5-1 on aggregate, is bidding for their sixth title in Europe’s top competition — and their first since 2005.
It was the latest Champions League failure by City manager Pep Guardiola, who won the competition twice with Barcelona — in 2009 and 2011 — but hasn’t reached the final since in five season with Bayern Munich and City.
Guardiola was sent to the stands for the second half for arguing with referee Antonio Mateu Lahoz during halftime. He and City can legitimately complain that Leroy Sane had a goal wrongly disallowed for offside at the end of the first half, which would have made it 2-0.
But over two legs, City can have few complaints and were always up against it after conceding three goals in 19 first-half minutes at Anfield and failing to score an away goal.