Wednesday May 2 2018
Roma bow out with honour

It was another epic, gladiatorial performance from the Giallorossi and Giancarlo Rinaldi hopes they can build on this Champions League adventure.

It was always going to be unlikely, improbable, impossible - choose whatever adjective you prefer. Sporting lightning had already struck once in the Stadio Olimpico with the incredible comeback and elimination of Barcelona. Against Liverpool there was never anything more than a late distant rumble of hopeful thunder.

For those who see football in black and white, the winner takes all and there can be no consolation for a loser. However, that always feels - to my mind anyway - a little too simplistic and brutal. There was little doubt the better team went through narrowly over the two legs, let’s be clear, but there were still positives for Roma. And, of course, a liberal sprinkling of what-might-have-beens over the 180 minutes or so of football.

The final tennis-like aggregate scoreline of 7-6 spoke volumes of the craziness of this semi-final. The victor takes the spoils, of course, but there was a bitter feel to Radja Nainggolan’s penalty in the dying seconds. One more goal in the closing minutes of the game in Liverpool - which looked eminently possible - might have made a huge difference. We will never know.

Ultimately this Champions League campaign - and all the fine results it has brought - saw the Giallorossi on the verge of reaching the Final. If you had told their fans that before the season started, only the most optimistic would have believed you. With a top four finish in Serie A also there for the taking, this can be a precious building block in James Pallotta’s development of the club. The foundations are there to construct a special side.

They produced the perfect game to beat the Blaugrana in the previous round and also delivered an impressive dismantling of Chelsea in the group stages, where they kicked out Atletico Madrid. But they were blown away by an hour or so of breathtaking attacking football at Anfield which destroyed their dreams of a trip to Kiev.

Might different tactics have produced a less hefty defeat that would have made their task in Rome a little less gargantuan? Could they have progressed without a string of silly mistakes that cost them so dear? We will never know, of course, but there were flashes of this return game which hinted they were not quite as out of their depth as a large swathe of the first leg had suggested.

If the viewers and fans feel tormented by getting so close to taking the tie to extra-time, one can only wonder how the players and Coach feel. Perhaps Liverpool always had the attacking power up their sleeve to dismiss any hope of a comeback. Nonetheless, the Giallorossi could justifiably feel that some marginal gains - through tactics, good fortune or error elimination - might have seen them celebrating at full-time rather than illustrious former employee Mohamed Salah.

No doubt players will go in the summer, but the core of a strong side with an amazing attitude has been put together in the red-and-yellow half of Rome. It would be stretching it to expect them to perform this well in Europe every year, but closer contention for the Scudetto need not be beyond them.

Tonight there will be tears - rather than their President - falling into the fountain in Piazza del Popolo. But, once they have dried, Roma can be hugely proud of the noise they made in the Champions League this season. Its echoes will be heard around the Olimpico for a while to come.

Now it is up to the owners, Coach and players to ensure it is the start of something special rather than just a beautiful one-off.

Have your say...
Ah yes, it's always the ref's fault. Nevermind that they gave up 7 freakin goals in the two legs. When will they ever look at their failings before crying about refereeing decisions?
Probably never and will never win anything again either.
on the 5th May, 2018 at 10:07pm
i supported all Italian teams since i was a kid, unfortunately, the same mistakes again and again, the same excuses again and again, Napoli vs Madrid last year we knew that Ramos is very good on headers still he scored two!! Roma vs Liverpool we knew salah, Mane super fast still we gave them spaces on the first leg, Juve vs Madrid we knew that if you give Madrid the ball they will score still we gave them the ball in the opening minutes to score. the mentality in Europe you should play to win CL
on the 4th May, 2018 at 4:37pm
They will never introduce VAR in Champions as they dont have it in La Liga. Its obvious team like Real and Barca need to keep winning with all the help from officiating as they are financially unstable and rely on advertisement and CL funding. It simple business and mathematics. Team built on smokes and mirrors or a pump and dump scheme. Guys like Ronaldo and Messi hyped up to be more than what they are. When there are bette players around the world.
on the 4th May, 2018 at 2:20pm
To start i am not a Roma fan but to watch them play they way they did was incredible and its the way Italy as a whole should play with the heart,grit & determination.Liverpool was gifted a pass and all the commentators around world that say they played well should quit at what they do. How can anyone say refereeing mistake dont mean anything.Its common sense it swayed the entire round.Uefa is in favor of La Liga and did Real a favor by not letting Roma pass.Roma would have embarrassed Real.
on the 4th May, 2018 at 2:14pm
The Roma team that we saw in this season's Champions League was the one I was looking for ever since they Rudi Garcia took them back.
on the 3rd May, 2018 at 9:19pm
Juve Fan here... Roma did Italy proud but for some errors - Salah's offside goal at Anfield, the two penalty and one/two red card blunders in Rome, they would be in the final. The frustrating part is Roma didn't play their best and still had more than enough events in the tie to go through. Add to that mistakes - tactics first leg, and cheap goals to concede in the second. At least we have more teams capable in the CL not only Juve, add to that Napoli, Inter and soon Milan. Forza Italia!
on the 3rd May, 2018 at 3:11pm
Well done Roma, onwards and upwards hopefully. Italian football needs strong Roma, AC Milan & Juve teams in europe.
on the 3rd May, 2018 at 2:55pm
What a joke Riommers complaining about penalties! Haven't they heard the phrase RIGORE PAA RIOMMA!! It is a well known fact that Unicredit buy them help in Serie A, unfortunately their credit limit doesn't extend to the 'Champions' League (Riomma haven't won a trophy for a decade!).

As Mr Mourinho would say 'ZERO TITULI'
on the 3rd May, 2018 at 1:04pm
Let's keep this in perpective. Roma got lucky with their opening goal, one of the biggest flukes I've ever seen and were gifted two dubious penalties (at the end of each leg). The earlier penalty appeal for handball was also contentious (you cannot fly into a block like that with your hands by your sides, it's physically impossible, but that's another debate, we've all seen them given). BTW I am in favour of VAR but remember, it cuts both ways & there were decisions that Liverpool didn't get.
on the 3rd May, 2018 at 12:58pm
Jeez calm down everyone. Yes Di Francesco made a mistake in the first leg but he will learn. This is his first season in CL coming up against an experienced CL manager like Klopp. Allegri has made much worse blunders despite having managed a CL team longer than Di Francesco. Di Francesco strikes me as someone who always continue to learn. He adapted to Barcelona and he adapted to Liverpool. Give it a few more years and he'll probably be the best manager in the world.
on the 3rd May, 2018 at 12:52pm
Proud to be a roma fan. Now we look ahead to Cagliari, lets finish the season with 3 wins and get 3rd place and then next year lets aim for the final. Forza Roma sempre.
on the 3rd May, 2018 at 12:41pm
Hopefully we can now hold on to our best players, invest well in strengthening the squad and continue to move forward. With the new stadium in a couple of years hopefully this will be the springboard to regular euro semi finals and taking the next step of winning it along with the scudetto. These are exciting times. This season we have finished ahead of Chelsea and Madrid in the group and beaten shaktar and Barca and nearly beat Liverpool. What an achievement, no one gave us a hope in hell.
on the 3rd May, 2018 at 12:38pm
Heartbreaking to not make the final but at the same time immensely proud of my team. We gave everything. The referee was terrible last night and cost us a lot with some terrible decisions yet I feel what ultimately cost us was how di Francesco set us up in the first game. Its a huge regret and a case of what might have been. Lets all appreciate the huge achievement in getting to the semi final, the first time we have been in the European cup semi in 34 years.
on the 3rd May, 2018 at 12:33pm
Cue the usual hypocrites. Yes Roma should have 2 penalties but Liverpool fans would argue that so should they. Florenzi should have been sent off for a bad 2 footed lunge on Mane from behind which was malicious. El Sharaway should have been booked for a more blatant dive than Dybala did against RM that he got booked for. Liverpool were 5-0 and 2-1 up in Rome but somehow its because of refereeing decisions that they are out. Atmosphere was amazing though, pity does not occur always.
on the 3rd May, 2018 at 12:01pm
Apparent mistakes in the first leg, changed for the second which lead to 2 conceded at home but an almost perfect second half and miracle, so EDF deserves praise for at least going out - in the semi, by one goal - with guns blazing rather than another negative display which would have the usual criticisms, and may have been just as bad. With confidence this Roma can be something special, the two capital teams will be an important part of the future of Italian football.
on the 3rd May, 2018 at 10:58am
@Romalat: You should be thankful you got a nice day-after article, unlike Juve. Try being a Juve fan and reading here, all we see after hurtful loses is vitriol in the articles, and vitriol in the comments, and vitriol produces more of itself.
on the 3rd May, 2018 at 10:31am
Let's keep this in perspective. The scoreline flattered Roma. After going 5-0 down in the first leg they really cannot complain. They got a fluke own goal and two lucky penalties that should not not have been given (in the dying minutes of each leg). Even the earlier (denied) penalty was debatable. And remember, VAR cuts both ways (and I am in favour of it).
on the 3rd May, 2018 at 10:25am
Kinda sad...knew it would have to end sooner than later. That’s it for Italian football on highest level. Just enjoy last 3 weeks of Serie A and how race unfolds. Good on Roma tho,hope this lights fire under club.

Looking forward to Mancini coming in to resurrect Azzurri. Tho contract is only 2 year cycle which isn’t long. + €4 million a year? eesh !? sounds like he’s doing it for the money only.

There’s been a lot anger and debate over penalties and NON calls in last rounds of CL >>>>>
on the 3rd May, 2018 at 10:24am
I never thought I'd be supporting an English team in a major cup final but I will.Lucky Madrid have to lose if there is any justice in this crazy, mixed up world. Go Liverpool!It's been a tough year for Italy fans -from the moment Juve lost to Lucky Madrid last year, we've suffered exponentially. I'll be glad when the final whistle blows in the world cup final and then we can hopefully start to build for the future (although I'm not sure the appointment of Mancini will give us what we all want).
on the 3rd May, 2018 at 9:36am
I just wish Di Francesco had t made such a tactical blunder first leg. To see ESPN FC and English press laughing at Roma and Italian football hurts. For that's the thing yes the comeback was unfairly denied but the reputational damage was done by the 7 conceded by one of the best back lines in Italy. Stupid goals. Gifts. I genuinely think with better psychological preparation and no inferiority complex Roma would have gone through. Liverpool aren't that good.
on the 3rd May, 2018 at 9:17am
contd. I have always been a proponent of VAR and even though its use has affected negatively results of my club, Inter this season which I think will result in them not achieving their goals, I am still convinced it is the way forward if it is actually used and used properly. Giving each side's captain 3 calls per game is the way to go.
on the 3rd May, 2018 at 8:01am
After this game how can anyone oppose VAR.It's a joke.Surely even as the winning side you want to win fairly.
on the 3rd May, 2018 at 8:01am
@ Romalat. yes very well done and congrats for going so close. Regarding refereeing Italian clubs in CL, this is nothing new. Inter matches in the late 0s against Valencia, Villareal and Liverpool were the same (remember Torres performance of swan lake in both games). VAR is required but the captain must be given perhaps 3 calls per game where he can insist the Ref views the screen. I believe this would reduce many problems, diving, etc. and also the ref will act fairly/improve decisions.
on the 3rd May, 2018 at 7:57am
Listening to everyone from roma complaining about the referee is part of the mentality that keeps Italian football behind.
In the first leg they were 5-0 down at one point, that is why they are out not.
Tactical naivety.
on the 3rd May, 2018 at 7:42am
no surprises that the English and Spanish team made the final, with plenty of dubious decisions to ensure it happens, and now as always the English and Spanish leagues get bigged up as the best int he world. The premiership was over by Christmas, and the Spanish league is a jumped up version of the Scottish league where only two teams ever win it.
on the 3rd May, 2018 at 7:30am
Bravo Roma!
You have restored some pride for Italian football.
Now and secure a top-4 spot in Serie A and keep going in CL next season!

From a Juve fan.
on the 3rd May, 2018 at 4:35am
Roma controlled the game tonight and it was a good win. Defensive mistakes let them down as both goals conceded were avoidable.

I thought El Shaarawy and Dzeko did well and ultimately first let cost them. Had they played 4-3-3 in Liverpool maybe they'd have come back with a draw or only narrow loss. The handball incident shows VAR must be there for champions league.
on the 3rd May, 2018 at 4:21am
Why shouldn't they perform well in Europe every year? If a team can form an identity and style of play that works in every game then they have every chance. Roma showed that they can play the kind of football that can win in Europe. Lets hope EDF and the management continue to push for a winning identity. What really burns though is Salah. If they held on to him they would definitely be in the final with a chance to win the big ears. How to retain its cream is what Pallotta needs to focus on.
on the 3rd May, 2018 at 2:57am

You don't need to ask for praise, you already deserve it.
Roma were also praised by everybody for their performance against Barca.

Roma did much better than expected. They were also denied 2 clear penalties tonight.

Seriously, what would it take to introduce VAR into the CL?
on the 3rd May, 2018 at 2:38am
ciao amici!
AS ROMA played horrible first have!!
I can't understand Uefa's attitude towards Italian clubs!
2 clear penalties not awarded!
a couple of wrong offside calls against AS ROMA too!
I am very sad because the Referees control the out come!
COLLINA is tearing us in apart!
I am Juve fan but my country got ripped off again today!
last min penalty was to save the ref's face(way too late!
on the 3rd May, 2018 at 1:47am

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