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Roma 3-0 Barcelona: Italian miracle sends Valverde’s men out of Champions League

Roma 3-0 Barcelona: Italian miracle sends Valverde’s men out of Champions League

Kostas Manolas scored a late header to complete a remarkable comeback victory for Roma over Barcelona and send the Italians into their first European Cup semi-final in 34 years.

Barcelona, who led 4-1 after the first leg, conceded first when striker Edin Džeko poked home, and went further behind after captain Danielle De Rossi’s converted penalty, before defender Manolas flicked home the decisive goal.

The away team, who came into the fixture unbeaten since mid-January, had an early opportunity through Sergi Roberto, but the Spaniard’s shot was straight at goalkeeper Alisson Becker.

Roma protested for a penalty in the fifth minute, but Nelson Semedo’s barge on Aleksandar Kolarov was not adjudged to be worthy of a foul.

Moments later, Džeko punished the visitors after controlling De Rossi’s long ball and slotting home instinctively to give his side hope after only seven minutes played.

Striker Patrik Schick nearly added a second, but he nodded a header just wide after being left unmarked in the box, and then came close again with a stabbed effort which was heroically thwarted by Gerard Piqué.

Džeko nearly thrust in a header at the far post, but Barcelona stopper Marc Andre ter Stegen performed an instinctive reaction save to deny the Bosnian.

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Barcelona offered little in the opening period as Lionel Messi failed to test the keeper with two presentable free-kick opportunities.

In the second half, Roma won a penalty when the impressive Džeko was hauled down by Piqué after a powerful run into the opposition area, and De Rossi confidently dispatched the resulting kick from 12 yards.

With a quarter of the game remaining, substitute Stephan El Shaarawy came within a fraction of the third goal after meeting Alessandro Florenzi’s cross, but ter Stegen made an outstanding point-blank stop.

The climax arrived when Greek centre-back Manolas arrived at the near post to delicately glance home a header following a Cengiz Ünder corner to send the home fans wild.

Ernesto Valverde’s team find themselves on the brink of the La Liga crown and will face Sevilla in the final of the Copa del Rey but must surrender their hopes of a treble winning season.

Roma will discover their Champions League semi-final opponents on Sunday when the draw is concluded in Switzerland.

Roma: Alisson; Manolas, Fazio, Juan Jesus; Kolarov, Strootman, De Rossi, Nainggolan (El Shaarawy 77′), Florenzi; Schick (Ünder 73′), Džeko.

Barcelona: ter Stegen; Semedo (Dembélé 85′), Piqué, Umtiti, Alba; Busquets (Alcácer 85′), Roberto, Rakitić, Iniesta (Gomes 81′); Messi, Suárez.