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Liverpool seal Champions League final spot, thanks to Mane and Wijnaldum goals

2 months ago  Raphael   Sport News

As expected, Roma came out all guns blazing in the second leg of their Champions League semi-final against Liverpool, but it was the Reds who qualified for the final in Kiev on May 26.

Edin Dzeko was involved in the first minute with a ball over the top, Virgil Van Dijk equal to it. The striker also got the better of Robertson in the fifth minute, but his cross couldn't find any of his teammates.

With Roma on top, Liverpool broke away in the ninth minute and poor pass by Nainggolan in midfield only found Roberto Firmino. The Brazilian played in Sadio Mane who put the visitors ahead on the night. Keen to make up for his mistake, the Belgian surged forward in the next attack but blazed his shot over.

As the game started to settle down, one of the strangest own goals seen in the competition got Roma right back in it. Dejan Lovren, in attempting to clear his lines, only succeeded in smashing the ball into James Milner's face, which in turn flew into the net.

Dzeko continued to make a nuisance of himself as the visitors found themselves under the cosh. A purposeful run from Robertson saw him get to the byline and square to Mane, Alisson in the Roma goal making an incredible reflex save from his goal-bound effort.

From the resulting corner, Dzeko got underneath his clearance and only succeeded in heading back towards his own goal where Georginio Wijnaldum was ready to pounce.

A simple header home, just his second goal of the season, tied up away goals in the tie meaning Roma would then need to score five without reply to go through.

The game became much more open as a result, and the action ebbed and flowed from one end to the other. Stephan El-Shaarawy's deflected 34th minute effort - again off of Milner - came back off the post to safety, as the Italians looked to put Liverpool under more intense pressure. El-Shaarawy looked the most dangerous Roma player heading into half time, but an attempt to win a penalty was waved away by the official.

Eusebio di Francesco changed his formation for the second half with Nainggolan stationed out on the left wing to give Roma more of an attacking presence. Instant pressure was again to be expected, but the hosts would have another penalty appeal waved away, Dzeko felled by Loris Karius, but flagged for offside upon receiving the ball.

The Bosnian wouldn't be denied, however.

After some more great work from El-Shaarawy, Karius could only parry his shot into Dzeko's path and his arrowed drive got the home support bouncing again on 51 minutes.

A freekick right on the edge of the area three minutes later was again won by Dzeko, and the striker got on the end of the dead ball only to head over. All of the pressure was coming from the hosts at this point, despite needing three more goals just to take the tie to extra time. Substitute Cengiz Under managed to nip in behind the Liverpool defence and hook a shot goal wards, but this time Karius was equal to it.

Having to play on the break, Liverpool nonetheless looked dangerous, and a hush descended on the stadium each time the Reds' front three stormed out of the blocks.

Still the Giallorossi poured forward at every opportunity, and Trent Alexander-Arnold was lucky to escape on 62 when the official adjudged his handball to be 'ball to hand,' leaving Roma furious.

Firmino was next to try his lack after being played in by Mohamed Salah, his cross-shot stinging Alisson's fingertips, whilst at the other end, Gonalons could only fire wildly over when well placed.

With 19 minutes left and no further goals scored, Roma's need for another filip became more and more obvious, but in consistently pressurising the Liverpool back line, the hosts were leaving far too many gaps in their defence. Dzeko kept getting into good positions but thanks to last-ditch defending and laboured finishing, he wasn't able to add to the scoreline. To their credit, Roma continued to pepper the Liverpool box, and Nainggolan struck a sweet shot in off the post on 86 minutes to give them hope.

With less than 30 seconds to play, Roma were finally awarded a penalty which Nainggolan hammered home, leaving them a goal from taking the tie into extra time. Ultimately, despite winning on the night, their efforts were in vain.

Source: Marca

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