Champions League

Roma counting on Dzeko-inspired miracle against Liverpool

2018-05-01 15:49
Edin Dzeko (Getty Images)

Rome - Roma coach Eusebio Di Francesco said Tuesday he is counting on another Edin Dzeko-inspired miracle against Liverpool to reach the Champions League final.

Trailing 5-2 after the first leg of their Champions League semi-final, Roma need to score at least three goals at the Stadio Olimpico on Wednesday to reach the May 26 final in Kiev.

Dzeko scored a crucial, late away goal in the 4-1 quarter-final first leg defeat at Barcelona and the opening goal of Roma's 3-0 second leg win at the Stadio Olimpico that saw the Italians through on away goals.

The Bosnian handed Roma another lifeline with an 81st strike after Liverpool had romped to a five-goal lead at Anfield last week, Diego Perotti adding a precious second from the spot four minutes later to keep Roma's final hopes alive.

"Players with his (Dzeko) qualities must be decisive as (Mohamed) Salah was in the first leg," said Di Francesco.

Former Roma forward Salah tore through his former club at Anfield, scoring twice and setting up two more goals.

"We can't change a team just for him (Salah) or put three players on him, we have to be good at raising the athletic level, giving little, but remembering that we have to score three goals.

"We were at the mercy of Liverpool for 25 minutes and that cannot happen. We want to try and do something big in a stadium with 70,000 people.

"If I could, I would copy and paste that performance against Barcelona, not just technically but on a mental and physical level," he added, of their comeback from 4-1 down against the Spaniards last month to reach the semi-finals.

"The desire to make another miracle happen must push us all to give that extra something."

Bosnian forward Dzeko has scored 24 goals this season for Roma in all competitions, and Radja Nainggolan warned he was ready to break his European drought.

"I've never scored in the Champions League, maybe I'll break through tomorrow," said the Belgian.

"We will try to complete another comeback, and although it will be complicated I'm the type of person who never likes the simple way."

Dutch defensive midfielder Kevin Strootman however has been ruled out with a leg injury.

Roma lost the European Cup final to Liverpool 34 years ago, but Di Francesco warned: "The 1984 final is in the hearts of the people, but they are two games that cannot be compared."

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp's assistant Zeljko Buvac stepped aside this week for personal reason, and Di Francesco joked: "I've kicked out my assistant too to make it even!

"It's internal stuff, I'm not preparing the game based on that. We'll face a strong and determined team which represents a great club, one with a great history in Europe.

"I don't think one staff member can make a difference."

Off-pitch tensions are also high as Liverpool supporter Sean Cox lies in a coma after being attacked before last week's first leg in Anfield.

"There are bad apples among all fans," said Di Francesco. "I've already said that I stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Sean Cox and his family and I'm against all forms of violence, like we all are here.

"There are good fans in Rome, we can't allow a small number of fans, which I think there are in England too, to ruin our beautiful sport.

"I want to make an appeal, it must be a joy to come to the stadium tomorrow."

Read more on:    liverpool  |  roma  |  champions league  |  edin dzeko  |  soccer

 

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Tuesday, 17 September 2019
Lyon v Zenit St. Petersburg, Groupama Stadium 18:55
Inter Milan v Slavia Prague, San Siro 18:55
Ajax v Lille, Amsterdam ArenA 21:00
Benfica v RB Leipzig, da Luz 21:00
Red Bull Salzburg v Genk, Red Bull Arena 21:00
Napoli v Liverpool, San Paolo 21:00
Borussia Dortmund v Barcelona, Signal Iduna Park 21:00
Chelsea v Valencia, Stamford Bridge 21:00
Wednesday, 18 September 2019
Club Brugge v Galatasaray, Jan Breydel Stadion 18:55
Olympiacos v Tottenham Hotspur, Karaiskakis Stadium 18:55
Bayern Munchen v Red Star Belgrade, Allianz Arena 21:00
Bayer Leverkusen v Lokomotiv Moscow, BayArena 21:00
Dinamo Zagreb v Atalanta, Maksimir Stadium 21:00
Shakhtar Donetsk v Manchester City, Metalist Stadium 21:00
Paris SG v Real Madrid, Parc des Princes 21:00
Atletico Madrid v Juventus, Wanda Metropolitano 21:00
Tuesday, 01 October 2019
Atalanta v Shakhtar Donetsk, San Siro 18:55
Real Madrid v Club Brugge, Santiago Bernabeu 18:55
Juventus v Bayer Leverkusen, Allianz Stadium 21:00
Manchester City v Dinamo Zagreb, Etihad Stadium 21:00
Lokomotiv Moscow v Atletico Madrid, Lokomotiv Stadium 21:00
Red Star Belgrade v Olympiacos, Stadion Rajko Mitic 21:00
Tottenham Hotspur v Bayern Munchen, Tottenham Hotspur Stadium 21:00
Galatasaray v Paris SG, Turk Telekom Arena 21:00
Wednesday, 02 October 2019
Slavia Prague v Borussia Dortmund, Eden Arena 18:55
Genk v Napoli, Luminus Arena 18:55
Liverpool v Red Bull Salzburg, Anfield 21:00
Barcelona v Inter Milan, Camp Nou 21:00
Valencia v Ajax, Mestalla 21:00
RB Leipzig v Lyon, Red Bull Arena 21:00
Zenit St. Petersburg v Benfica, Saint Petersburg Stadium 21:00
Lille v Chelsea, Stade Pierre-Mauroy 21:00
Tuesday, 22 October 2019
Shakhtar Donetsk v Dinamo Zagreb, Metalist Stadium 18:55
Atletico Madrid v Bayer Leverkusen, Wanda Metropolitano 18:55
Juventus v Lokomotiv Moscow, Allianz Stadium 21:00
Manchester City v Atalanta, Etihad Stadium 21:00
Club Brugge v Paris SG, Jan Breydel Stadion 21:00
Olympiacos v Bayern Munchen, Karaiskakis Stadium 21:00
Tottenham Hotspur v Red Star Belgrade, Tottenham Hotspur Stadium 21:00
Galatasaray v Real Madrid, Turk Telekom Arena 21:00
Wednesday, 23 October 2019
Ajax v Chelsea, Amsterdam ArenA 18:55
RB Leipzig v Zenit St. Petersburg, Red Bull Arena 18:55
Benfica v Lyon, da Luz 21:00
Slavia Prague v Barcelona, Eden Arena 21:00
Genk v Liverpool, Luminus Arena 21:00
Red Bull Salzburg v Napoli, Red Bull Arena 21:00
Inter Milan v Borussia Dortmund, San Siro 21:00
Lille v Valencia, Stade Pierre-Mauroy 21:00
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