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Liverpool advances to Champions League Final

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  • Liverpool qualifies for 8th UCL Final
  • First since losing to AC Milan in 2007
  • Will face Real Madrid on May 26 in Kiev
  • WATCH: Goals from Mane, Wijnaldum

Georginio Wijnaldum and Sadio Mane scored in Wednesday’s 4-2 UEFA Champions League semifinal second leg loss as Liverpool advanced past Roma 7-6 on aggregate to clinch a berth opposite Real Madrid in the final.

Radja Nainngolan scored twice to go with an Edin Dzeko marker and a James Milner own goal but i Lupi was sloppy with the final ball for most of the match.

Liverpool’s eighth UCL Final berth ties Barcelona for the fifth-most all-time, behind Real Madrid, Juventus, Bayern Munich, and AC Milan.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Nainngolan’s mistake on the left of midfielder allowed Liverpool a 3v2 break on i Lupi.

Roberto Firmino led the rush, and his pass was in tune with Sadio Mane’s run. The Senegalese forward buried his chance beyond the reach of Alisson.

The lead didn’t last, as Roma got a goal back when Patrik Schick’s pressure forced Dejan Lovren into a clearance that bounded off James Milner’s face and past Loris Karius. Roma would again need three more goals, and had 75 minutes.

Alisson dragged his back leg to make a great save on Mane, but Wijnaldum restored the four-goal cushion in the 26th minute with a header off a corner kick.

Stephan El Shaarawy saw a deflected effort bound off the post in the 35th minute.

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[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

El Shaarway’s 52nd minute shot rebounded to Dzeko, who scored for the fifth-straight UCL game to pull Roma within three.

Cenzig Under flicked an over-the-top pass toward goal, but it bounded to Karius as it remained 2-2 at the hour mark.

Trent Alexander-Arnold could’ve given away a penalty when he blocked an in-tight shot with his hand, but there was no call.

Nainngolan smashed a 23-yard shot across goal and off both goal posts to make it 3-2 in the 87th minute.

Ragnar Klavan handled a ball in the second of three minutes of stoppage time, and Nainngolan scored that one, too.

CL Preview: Liverpool looks to finish the deal vs. Roma

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Real Madrid is already into the Champions League final. It would appear that Liverpool has one foot in the match as well, but there are 90 minutes more to take care of before that is for sure.

The Reds hold a 5-2 first-leg advantage after stomping Roma at the Kop, but it’s that 1 that has fans worried. After a stunning first 70 minutes that looked to be the best Liverpool performance maybe in years, the final 20 ticks were nervy, ruining the clean sheet and giving the second leg in the Italian capital more than a smidge of intrigue.

Can Roma do it again?

The Italian club stunned runaway La Liga champions Barcelona just last round, reversing a 4-1 first-leg deficit and winning the second meeting 3-0 and advancing on away goals. Now, they’ll need a repeat performance of that once-in-a-generation comeback, a task so tall considering Liverpool’s form.

But Barcelona was in good form too. In fact, they haven’t lost all season in league play, a stunning invincible record that has seen them already confirmed as league champions. Somehow, Roma kept Lionel Messi and company out of the net and grabbed the three goals required to advance.

And yet, if Barcelona was a mountain to climb, this is Kilimanjaro. The Reds feature Mohamed Salah, a player not only in contention for Premier League Player of the Season, but also maybe in the best form of any attacker in the world. If Liverpool scores once, Roma would need four. If Liverpool scores twice, Roma would need six, effectively ending the tie.

Reds manager Jurgen Klopp thinks that while Barcelona may have been naive, Liverpool certainly is not, thanks to red flags from the comeback in the previous round. “Barcelona thought probably that it’s decided,” he said. “Everybody is telling us that it’s possible for Roma to beat us 3-0 or 4-0. Nobody told Barcelona. Not that I needed it but, we have the warning.”

The main scoring threat for Roma could come in the form of former Premier League striker Edin Dzeko. The Bosnia & Herzegovina international will play against Liverpool for the 13th time in his career across all competitions, the most against any team he has ever faced, level with Bayern Munich. He has four goals in those games, but Roma manager Eusebio Di Francesco expects big things from their leader.

“All the players need to feel responsible and be pleased about that [feeling],” Di Francesco said in his pre-match press conference. “As coach, I’m pleased to have this responsibility, but the players are the ones doing it on the pitch. Even more so with Dzeko – I hope he can be our Salah from the first leg, so he can pull things back and determine a great comeback. A player of his quality, ability – it’s right that he has this responsibility.”

Part of winning the Champions League is shocking the world, part of it is overcoming adversity, but part of it is also taking care of business. That is what Liverpool need to do on Wednesday, with kickoff from Stadio Olimpico at 2:45 p.m. ET. If they complete the performance, a date with Real Madrid in the final awaits – a worthy adversary expected to prevail but also with plenty of fallacies. That opportunity will not come if they do not take care of business.

Roma’s Dzeko, Di Francesco relish Barcelona stunner

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Like Liverpool, AS Roma’s domestic season hasn’t gone according to plan. In a battle for third, not first, i Lupi is not in the running for an elusive scudetto.

Like Liverpool, they don’t care much about that right now.

[ RECAP: Roma 3-0 (4-4 agg.) Barcelona ]

AS Roma has reached its first UEFA Champions League semifinal, and has done it in stunning fashion by defeating a Barcelona team which is unbeaten in league play and has lost a single match — a Jan. 17 Copa del Rey first leg — since La Liga’s slate started Aug. 20.

Oh, and that defeat was a 3-0 home romp which overturned a 4-1 away deficit.

Edin Dzeko scored the away goal, one which looked like a mere door prize at the time, and also scored Tuesday as Roma rallied for glory. He was asked if the best was yet to come.

“The best came tonight but it could come again in a few weeks’ time! We can beat anyone playing the way we did tonight. We could have scored more too. We got at them right from the off – I’ve never seen Barcelona struggle like that before.”

Dzeko told PST before the season that he’d love to meet old club Man City in the Champions League. We’re sure he didn’t expect to outlast them.

Manager Eusebio Di Francesco is relishing the win, a second time he’s split results against Ernesto Valverde in his career dating back to last season’s Europa League group stage split between Sassuolo and Athletic Bilbao.

“You must always aim higher, but we’d produced some great performances in the league too. We’re reaping the rewards for all the hard work we’ve put in. I’m the coach so I’ll take the praise just as I take the criticism but I want to look forward. Why shouldn’t we believe we can reach the final? That has to be our target. I don’t want to stop here.”

Who should Roma want to draw in the next round (assuming Bayern Munich and Real Madrid hold onto their leads over Sevilla and Juventus)? The easy answer is Liverpool, but one thing’s for sure: When you control Barcelona in the second leg after deserving better in the first, no one’s going to take you for granted.

Roma stuns Barca to reach UCL semis

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Daniele De Rossi was already a Roma legend; After a goal and assist in a monumental comeback win over Barcelona, i Lupi’s captain is gonna get himself a statue

Edin Dzeko and Kosta Manolas and AS Roma also scored in the 3-0 win over Barcelona, turning the tie on its ear by advancing via its first leg away goal in a 4-4 draw over two legs in the UEFA Champions League quarterfinals.

Dzeko scored the goal in the first leg.

Barcelona loses a monumental lead one year after its glorious comeback against Paris Saint-Germain.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Roma nabbed a quick lead, with De Rossi opening up the top of the Barcelona back line and Dzeko delivering a sixth minute goal.

And the roles were reversed, in a sense, when Dzeko earned a penalty out of Gerard Pique and De Rossi converted his chance to make it 4-3 on aggregate. Another goal without answer would put Roma through on away markers.

Manolas then flicked a header home off a corner kick to send the Stadio Olimpico into ecstasy. It would need to hold Barca scoreless for eight more minutes.

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[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

Dzeko the star again as Roma advances past Shakhtar Donetsk

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Edin Dzeko‘s second half goal gave AS Roma a 1-0 win in the second leg of its UEFA Champions League Round of 16 match-up, and pulled i Lupi into a 2-2 aggregate score line with Shakhtar Donetsk on Tuesday in Rome.

The 1-0 win made Cenzig Under’s first leg away marker stand up as the difference maker in sending i Lupi into the quarterfinals.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Whatever Roma boss Eusebio Di Francesco said to his men did the trick after a first leg he didn’t like very much.

Dzeko was played through on goal by Kevin Strootman early in the second half and defied Andriy Pyatov to bring Roma to 2-2 on aggregate with the lone away goal of the tie.

There was (slightly) off-field drama late, as Facundo Ferreyra appeared to shove a ball boy over the advertising boards.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]