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How Roman Gladiators Stunned Catalan Giants Barcelona



The world stood still last night as Barcelona fell in Rome. The Catalan giants fell on their swords in the Colosseum to the cheering of thousands in shock.

Italian entertainers performed with ferocious intimidation to the sound of splattered blood, melodic clash of metal against metal and bodies buried in the sand. 80,000 spectators watched on awaiting the theatrical death of Troyan Hector against Hercules but the script was rewritten by “12 great Gods of Rome”.

Great warriors, like great earthquakes, are principally remembered for the mischief they have done. – Christian Nestell Bovee

Yesterday at the Stadio Olimpico, the Giallorossi’s coaches, players and supporters combined to annihilate Catalan giants Barcelona and stun world football with a vehement performance. Roma beat Spanish champions Barcelona 3-0 to progress to the semi-finals of the Champions League on away goals, leaving everyone present at the venue in disbelief.

Fans shed tears as Roman history was rewritten. It was unarguably the greatest Italian performance in European football as the Giallorossi qualified for the UEFA Champions League semi-finals for the first time since 1984.

The heroes on the night were defender Kostas Manolas and box to box midfield merchant Daniele De Rossi who were the villains six day ago, after both scoring own goals in 4-1 first leg loss at the Camp Nou. The pair scored both scored again but at the right goal as they defended the honour of Rome.

Greek defender Manolas scored the decisive goal, leading him to break down in tears. He however avoided credit for the victory insisting to praise the collective effort of fans, his team mates and the manager. He said: “We have our crowd behind us, nobody can beat us,”

“We need these fans to give us a push. If they always flock here in these numbers, Roma can become one of the best teams in Italy.”

But he wasn’t wrong, the supporters were huge contributors to the success. The world had written off the Italians who has 34 years of failure in European provided as proof but the supporters believed. Club captain “Mr Roma” Daniele De Rossi said about the fans, “I was almost moved to tears seeing the fans before the game.”

He continued: “And I told my teammates, ‘If they believe, we must do the same.

“The very worst that could happen was not qualifying, the very worst. But the best…”

And after the final whistle, the glorious Ultra supporters of Roma still remained in the dome singing and cheering for almost an hour. Savouring the glory of the moment, bathing in the blood of the slain giants.

As much as the fans deserve credit, another influential figure on the night was manager Eusebio Di Francesco who spent four years of his playing career in the Italian capital. The Pescara born midfield tradesman knew only a subtle change could guarantee any possibility of a breakthrough.

Two days before the tie, the Roman boss discussed a new approach his team would have to play. Developing a completely untested creation for their seemingly hopeless situation, Di Francesco introduced a 3-4-1-2 formation, with Radja Nainggolan playing in behind Patrik Schick and Edin Dzeko. Drilling the squad for two day with an attacking intent the Roman have never tried in the past and he was right!

Horrified Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde commented on the genius work of the Italians, he said “We were not surprised by Roma, they didn’t play as we expected but it was a possibility”

He added: “We started very well but we couldn’t do what we wanted because they forced us to play on the wings with their pressing. They created us troubles and we were unable to play the second ball at any time. We didn’t create any goal chances and they made the most of their enthusiasm scoring three.”

“They had planned a solid and aggressive game. The season is still very long and it’s hard to win this competition every year. It’s hard to accept it for our fans and our people. We all suffer tonight.”

The Roman empire can however not afford to rest on their laurels as they are still three games away from glory. No Italian team has lifted the Champions League since 2008, but judging by last night end to a 34 year semi-final misery, ending the eight years streak should be a piece of cake.

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