?After ?winning the first leg of the Champions League quarter final 4-1, many people believed that Ernesto Valverde’s Barcelona had all but guaranteed their place in the semi-finals, with Roma succumbing to two own goals, as well as strikes from Gerard Pique and Luis Suarez.
Going into the second leg in Rome, the hosts faced an uphill battle as they needed to overturn a three goal deficit – a feat only ever achieved thrice before in the Champions League – against one of Europe’s most talented sides.
However, with the help of the momentous support from the fans at the Stadio Olimpico and a great deal of belief, Roma were able to score three goals without reply in order to shock the five-time European champions and ensure that, once again, they would not be lifting the coveted trophy this season.
Goals from Edin Dzeko, Daniele De Rossi and Kostas Manolas saw Barcelona suffer their most agonising capitulation on the European stage in recent memory, and the Blaugrana players were clearly dejected by their performance.
According to reports from Spanish news outlet ?Sport, Barcelona’s flight home from Rome was almost silent, with the players in a state of disbelief and shell shock. The atmosphere of the flight was likened to that of a ‘ghost plane’ with barely anyone uttering a word.
However, there was one phrase that was uttered more than once aboard the flight as Valverde’s men returned to Catalonia, with a number of players convinced the had ‘delivered the Champions League to Real Madrid’.
A slightly disrespectful assessment considering there remain three games separating Los Blancos from their third successive Champions League title, and the teams remaining are certainly more than capable of upsetting the odds and removing Madrid from contention.
In fact, of all the remaining teams in the competition, Real Madrid have the worst defensive record at home, having conceded seven goals on home soil in comparison to Liverpool’s two, Bayern Munich’s one and Roma’s zero.
There is certainly a case for why any of the remaining three teams can knock Madrid out, as such Barcelona’s appraisal of the semi-finalists, and subsequent prediction, may be incorrect.
The draw for the Champions League semi-finals is set to take place on Friday at midday GMT, with fans of Bayern Munich, Liverpool, Real Madrid and Roma all eager to learn who their side will face in the upcoming round of fixtures.