An excellent Stadio Olimpico performance from AS Roma last night resulted in a surprise Champions League exit for FC Barcelona. Going into the game it would have appeared that the Catalan side had done enough in the first leg with a 4-1 win and Barça after all are Barça with Messi in their ranks. In the eternal city yesterday both Messi and the rest of the team had an off night as the Catalan outfit were under the cosh from the off as Roma moved the ball around with purpose and in Dzeko had the perfect striking foil who gave a masterclass in playing the game with his back to goal. Despite a final push Barça offered little all evening as Roma's superiority had the home side and supporters believing that an upset was possible.
How Barça let this tie slip is one of the mysteries that the game of football throws up from time to time. Were they over confident from the first leg, was it tiredness, lack of squad rotation from Valverde, or an over dependence on Lionel Messi? Roma knew that they had nothing to lose went for broke and played like a team under little pressure and ultimately got the result that saw therm through. At the same time Guardiola's Manchester City slipped up at home to Liverpool (1-2 on the night) with the Catalan coach being sent off for challenging referee Mateu Lahoz after he chalked off a goal for the Manchester team.
Madrid and Sevilla...
So both AS Roma and Liverpool take their place in Friday's semi final draw with both teams going through despite not being favourites in their respective ties. Barça's exit should serve as a warning for Real Madrid despite Zidane's men having a healthy first leg advantage. Once again we're deprived of a possible Real Madrid-Barcelona Champions League final which we all are anxious to witness and would be an excellent spectacle with Cristiano pitted against Messi in the biggest club game in football. Maybe next year ... For the moment it's a question of hoping that Real Madrid can see off their tie against Juve and dream that Sevilla can be inspired by Roma's feat and create an upset in Munich.