Why Roma should be respected as the fallen victors
The 2017/18 edition of the Champions League will soon wrap up but has been filled with memorable moments. While some big teams broke the heart of their fans, some made the competition a one to remember for all fans. AS Roma is an example of such.
The Romans found themselves in a difficult Group C which had Chelsea and Atletico Madrid. Many might have predicted that the highest position Roma could reach was the Europa League spot. However, they eventually became the leaders of their group, leaving Chelsea on the second position and sending Atletico to the Europa League.
After their 2-0 loss to Atletico at the second group match, the Giallorossi’s looked like they would settle for the third position. However, they answered with a resounding 3-0 victory against Chelsea. This is where the story began to get interesting.
At the Round of 16 stage, Roma seemed to have luck on their side. Though they led their group, they could have easily be drawn against the likes of Bayern Munich, Juventus or Real Madrid who were second in their respective groups. That would have made their aircraft crash even before it took off. Just look at PSG who found themselves in the same boat with Real Madrid. However, they got a tricky Shakhtar Donetsk side who they defeated on away goals to advance.
However, the luck went away from them at the quarter-finals. The draw pitted them against Barcelona and the potential end to their Champions League campaign. Though losing to a team like Barcelona isn't shameful. The Catalans are strong favourites and as at then, they were still unbeaten in the competition even after facing Juventus and Chelsea. Roma seems like an easy pick for the Catalans.
After the 4-1 defeat at the Camp Nou, many had written Francesco's men off completely. They needed to perform a miracle to overturn the tie in Rome.
The Romans did the unthinkable at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome, winning 3-0 against Barcelona to advance to the semi-finals. It was like a dark magic as Barca got outplayed and dismantled; something even Real Madrid couldn't achieve in La Liga, being on the end of a 3-0 hammering at the Santiago Bernabeu.
After seeing off Barcelona, the Romans knew there would not be an easy task ahead of them. If they were not to face the defending Champions Real Madrid, they will surely face the Bundesliga Champions Bayern Munich or Liverpool. However, they were pitted against the Reds.
Liverpool's attacking strength this season doesn't need an introduction. In fact, the craziest thing you can now come across is when the Reds are on the counter-attack. They are very deadly. They won 5-1 over two-legs against Manchester City and even showered rains of goals on their earlier opponents. Eusebio De Francesco knew he had a very difficult task on his hands when he faced off against Jurgen Klopp.
Liverpool won 5-2 at Anfield but those two goals conceded means there was still a slight hope for a comeback. Though I had earlier predicted that there would be no comeback in Rome, Roma still did an amazing job which marvelled me. The hopes for a comeback was very slim, they still picked it up.
At 2-1 down against Liverpool in the 25th minute, they never gave up. They believed that nothing is impossible in football and gave it their best. The Romans won 4-2 but couldn't find that last goal which could have stretched the game into extra time. Though they lost on 6-7 aggregate, the Giallorossi's still fought to the very end and got their reward which was a victory. They didn't advance to the final but protected their pride against a very difficult side; They should be hailed for that.
It's not every time you lose that you are a loser. sometimes the losers are the true victors, just like what happened at the Stadio Olimpico. The Giallorossi's fell honourably and showed great respect to their victor and their former player Mo Salah who played an important part in their defeat.