Lionel Messi & Andres Iniesta Make UEFA Champions League History Despite Harrowing Loss to Roma

On a night otherwise filled with despair, there was one small glimmer of a silver ?lining for Barcelona, as Lionel Messi and Andres Iniesta became the first two players to play 100 Champions League games together. 

Incidentally, on the way to setting this record, the duo overtook their former Barcelona colleagues Carlos Puyol and Xavi Hernandez, who had previously played in Europe’s premier competition 96 times together. 

Notwithstanding the historic occasion, the veteran pair were unable to mark the day with progression to the semi finals, surrendering a 4-1 lead from the first leg with Roma at the Nou Camp by letting in three goals without reply at the Stadio Olimpico.

FC Barcelona v Chelsea FC - UEFA Champions League Round of 16: Second Leg

The Spaniards were simply outplayed and overpowered by a determined Roma side, with goals from Edin Dzeko (a constant thorn in the side of Gerard Pique) and Daniele De Rossi preceding Kostas Manolas’ dramatic winner in the 82nd minute.

With the inevitable backlash still in full swing, there has already been ?dissenting words from club president Josep Maria Bartameu regarding the incumbent manager Ernesto Valverde, with Bartameu reportedly declaring: “This team are always prepared to win on all fronts, be it with Ernesto Valverde or another coach.

Indeed, one of the record breakers himself, Andres Iniesta, has also ?conceded the fact that this ignomious defeat could realistically represent his last showing in the competition, alluding to the possibility that his tenure at the club could be coming to a close, despite his life-long contract. 


” style=”” contenteditable=”false”>

While the fact that this was the game that resulted in this record being set, it shouldn’t overshadow the impact that Messi and Iniesta have had on the competition, and the glory and wonder they have brought it throughout the 99 other times they have taken to the field together.

Let’

Barcelona Staff Claim 3-0 Roma Loss Has ‘Delivered’ Champions League Title to Rivals Real Madrid

Members of Barcelona’s staff claimed the club had? “delivered the Champions League to Real Madrid,” after their 3-0 loss to Roma on Tuesday, according to a Spanish report.

According to ?Sport, one staff member said following the loss: “It’s been many years since I saw faces like that.”

AS Roma v FC Barcelona - UEFA Champions League Quarter Final Second Leg

Expected to cruise through to the Champions League semi finals after a resounding 4-1 victory at the Camp Nou, Barcelona were left stunned by a comeback that only the Roma version of Arsenal Fan TV’s Ty could have predicted.

The entire squad were given Wednesday off in order to process their Champions League exit before they return to action in La Liga against Valencia on Saturday, and although the Catalan Club seemingly have the league wrapped up, it will no doubt hurt them to watch Real Madrid progress to another European semi fin?al.

Sport also report that on multiple occasions during the plane ride home it was stated that Barca had “delivered the Champions League to Real Madrid,” and while Liverpool, Sevilla and Roma remain in the competition, Los Blancos are arguably the favourites to win the competition.


“>

Despite the loss, Barcelona players still feel Roma were a side they should have beaten over the two legs and that it was only down to their own mistakes that they failed to progress in the competition. 

Let’

Ivan Rakitic Undergoes Surgery in Bid to Return in Time for Copa Del Rey Final Against Sevilla

?Ivan Rakitic is set to undergo surgery on a fractured finger in hopes of a return in time for the Copa del Rey final on April 21. The midfielder suffered his injury during Tuesday night’s 3-0 defeat to Roma, and went under the knife the following afternoon.

Barcelona’s Tuesday went from bad to worse when it was revealed after the game that Rakitic had fractured his finger during their humiliating Champions League exit at the hands of the Italian side.

FC Barcelona v AS Roma - UEFA Champions League Quarter Final Leg One

According to Marca, the Croatian had surgery on the finger on Wednesday afternoon, and while no official date has been announced for when he will return to the fold, the general hope is that the former Sevilla player will be back in time to face his old side in the Copa del Rey final on April 21 – only ten days away.

Victory over Sevilla at the Wanda Metropolitano will ease pain slightly in what was a disastrous and highly unexpected Champions League exit. Securing the domestic cup as well as La Liga might make Ernesto Valverde’s debut campaign at Camp Nou a success; a season in which Rakitic has played a vital role.

However, ?a double might not be enough for Valverde to keep his job, with the club’s president hinting at a possible departure for the manager.


“>

Between now and April 21, Las Blaugrana face a trip to Celta Vigo. A win against the side placed ninth in the league will take the club even closer to La Liga success, with knowledge that Barcelona are only weeks away from taking the trophy out of Real Madrid’s hands.

Let’

Twitter Melts Down as Liverpool Beat City & Roma Shock the World by Dumping Barcelona Out of UCL

We all focused on the wrong game.

Some of us were anticipating Manchester City had the comeback of their lives in them on Tuesday night, as they hosted Liverpool in the last eight of the Champions League – having been trailing 3-0 from the first leg at Anfield. But as the Reds managed to swerve past Pep Guardiola’s side and move into the last four, it was out in Italy where we got our drama.

Roma, yes AS Roma, knocked Barcelona out of the Champions League.

Here’s how the night went down on Twitter, through the eyes of a poor man alone in his work office and his dilemma over which game to actually watch in order to catch a miracle…

AS Roma v FC Barcelona - UEFA Champions League Quarter Final Second Leg

Scene: Manchester. Through a TV screen at 90min HQ.

Pep Guardiola had to go for it. And while he sprung a surprise by not naming Sergio Aguero in the starting lineup, he named (basically) all of his other attacking options in advanced roles. 

No wing backs, nah, Pep didn’t feel like it. This was as gung-ho as you could go – the type of gung-ho you could only ever imagine playing on Football Manager 2018.

??

??There was, however, no place for Vinnie Kompany – despite his goal in ?Saturday’s Manchester derby (which City lost, obv.)

The decision did not please one famous Manchester face…

Then, the absolutely inevitable happened. The Lolerpool moment. The indicator that another Crystanbul collapse was on the cards. City scored through Gabriel Jesus within two minutes, and this tie was well and truly on.

??

City were on one. They dominated possession in the first half an hour, and they were well and truly back in the tie. If there was one team who were capable of shipping 3+ goals in a short space of time, it was the visitors, and if there was one team capable of scoring 3+ goals in a short space of time, it was the hosts.

I mean, Liverpool barely touched the ball…

But time ticked on. And Liverpool, for all of their bus parking, didn’t really give up too many major chances. That was until the 40th minute, when Bernardo Silva banged one against the post. Leroy Sane then had a goal disallowed seconds later for offside…though it appeared he ACTUALLY WASN’T?!

Nevertheless, Liverpool did make it through the half having only shipped one goal.

Pep, clearly incensed by the official’s refusal to play any added time in the first half (and perhaps the disallowed goal, after it came off James Milner), actually ended up getting sent to the stands for the remainder of the fixture of being a little too colourful with his protests.

He told the poor ref to “shut up”, apparently.

Imagine Jose Mourinho had’ve done that? He’d have got a stadium ban!

Manchester City v Liverpool - UEFA Champions League Quarter Final Second Leg

Half time editor’s note: I’ve seen that bloody Juan Mata ESPN advert about 174 times during this BT Sport broadcast.

Former referee Chris Foy gave us his expert analysis on the disallowed goal at the start of the second period. And when we say expert, we mean, got his words completely jumbled up and it was hilarious.

The goal stood have should. The goal stood have should.

But then, as Liverpool actually managed to get a hold of the ball, they went and scored a goal that did stand. Sadio Mane managed to penetrate the home defence, and who was there? Mohamed Salah. 

Liverpool fans proceeded to lose their minds, as you’d expect…

To be fair, probably should have mentioned by this point that Roma were actually doing all of the bits in their second leg tie at home to Barcelona. 

Scene: Rome. Still through a TV screen at 90min HQ.

As we touched on at the start, the Giallorossi were trailing 4-1 from the first leg, and the hosts needed to beat the Spanish league leaders 3-0 to go through. They went 1-0 up through Edin Dzeko, but then Daniele De Rossi’s penalty made it very interesting. 2-0, half an hour to go, could it happen?

It’s getting really difficult to prioritise, here. Liverpool killed the game with their equaliser, but having switched over to the Roma/Barca game, which was still in the balance, Bobby Firmino went and scored to seal the game.

There’s no time for that, though, because BLOODY HELL ROMA JUST SCORED AND THEY’RE GOING THROUGH AS IT STANDS AGAINST BARCELONA!!!

YEP, WE REALLY ALL FOLLOWED THE WRONG COMEBACK!

Barcelona were toothless, and even while Lionel Messi stood on the pitch, they were absolutely powerless to stop this Roman machine.

To put this in perspective, Barcelona had conceded three goals ALL SEASON in the Champions League. But they shipped three in one game in Rome, and they, like Liverpool, find themselves in the last four of the Champions League. 

They’re so going to face off in the Mo Salah derby in the semi-finals, aren’t they?

“>

Let’

Roma 3-0 Barcelona (4-4 Agg): Roma Stun Barca With Unlikely Comeback to Earn UCL Progression

La Liga leaders Barcelona were handed quite the shocking loss at the Stadio Olimpico on Tuesday night, bowing out to Roma, who gave absolutely everything to overturn a 4-1 deficit to advance to the Champions League semi-final.

The Spanish side took a 4-1 aggregate lead into the tie, leaving Roma with lots to do. But they definitely looked up to the task in the early going.

Edin Dzeko kicked things off rather early, scoring the opener in the sixth minute after chasing down a dink over the Barca defence to poke home past the onrushing keeper from around eight yards out.

FBL-EUR-C1-ROMA-BARCELONA

There would be other chances for the Italian outfit, with Dzeko trying to capitalise on his side’s pressing after receiving a ball from Patrik Schick after it was nicked off Andres Iniesta. The Bosnian tried working a shot from the edge of the area but was crowded out.

Radja Nainggolan also had a pop from 25 yards out following a pass from Dzeko yet shot wide.

An unmarked Schick was handed an opportunity of his own, just eight yards from goal, off Federico Fazio’s cross. Yet despite rising to head powerfully, he directed off the mark.

Roma headed into halftime one goal to the good but with plenty of work to do. The signs from the first half, though, were quite positive, as they did a good job of pressuring the visitors and carving several chances out for themselves.

AS Roma v FC Barcelona - UEFA Champions League Quarter Final Second Leg

The Catalan side did well to keep the ball in the opening minutes of the second period but still struggled to get out of their half as Roma kept pressing and exposing their frailties in terms of physicality.

Roma’s dominance would pay off again as Dzeko, who had been brilliant all night, was brought down in the box by Gerard Pique. The ref initially dismissed the calls but decided to award a spot-kick after a conversation with his assistant.

Daniele de Rossi stepped up to bury from the penalty spot, giving his side a 2-0 lead on 58 minutes and taking them to within one goal of progression.

The Italian nearly went one better – ten minutes later – with what could have been the potential decider, but headed wide from just six yards out after rising to meet a cross.

With Barca struggling to hold on, Kostas Manolas emerged the man of the hour, getting the third for Roma with a glancing header off of a corner in the 83rd minute. As things stood, Roma were actually headed to the semis, given what now counted as a precious away goal in their possession. 

(The scenes!)

It was now Roma’s turn to hold on, with a rattled Barca even resorting to long balls. Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez both had late chances, while Ousmane Dembele missed the chance of his life after Becker rushed off his line. The Frenchman’s looping shot from 30 yards out dropped just over the bar, leaving the home fans with hearts in mouth.

The home side were able to keep the scoreline as it was, possibly playing the game of the season, as well as the comeback, stunning Ernesto Valverde’s men and all of Spain as they marched through to the next round as possible favourites after their resounding display.


Lineups

Roma: Becker; Jesus, Fazio, Manolas; Kolarov, Strootman, De Rossi, Nainggolan, Florenzi; Schick, Dzeko.

Subs: Skorupski, Pellegrini, Under, Gonalons, Peres, Gerson, El Shaarawy.

Barcelona: Ter Stegen; Semedo, Piqué, Umtiti, Alba; Sergi Roberto, Rakitic, Busquets, Iniesta; Messi, Suarez.

Subs: Cillessen, D Duarez, Dembélé, Paulinho, Alacer, Gomes, Vermaelen.


“>

??

Let’