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Barcelona Collapsed, and Yes, You’re Officially a Roma Fan Now

After a 4-1 loss in the first leg of the Champions League quarterfinals, the Italian club overturned the deficit, took off their shirts, and ran directly into our hearts

AS Roma v FC Barcelona - UEFA Champions League Quarter Final Second Leg Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

I missed the first two goals in Roma’s epic comeback win over Barcelona in the Champions League quarterfinal on Tuesday because, unbeknownst to me, it was showing on Facebook Live. Also, Manchester City had drawn first blood early against Liverpool, and it was harrowing, and I was sure that was going to be the game most worthy of #discussion. Because City’s theoretical quadruple could be whittled down to just one trophy, and also because Liverpool are the most entertaining trapeze artists, and because Pep Guardiola, and because revenge.

Moreover Roma, who went into the home leg trailing 4-1 to their notional superiors Barcelona, well, weren’t supposed to lay down, but they were supposed to at most make the tie interesting. Maybe. Edin Dzeko scored in the sixth minute, and the next breakthrough didn’t arrive until the 58th minute, when Daniele De Rossi converted a penalty … I read on Twitter. It turned out the game was also broadcast on Fox Deportes, which I clicked over to just in time to witness Kostas Manolas nod an 82nd-minute header past Marc-André ter Stegen and go into exceedingly captionable hysterics. Roma really did that, winning 3-0 to advance to the Champions League semifinals on away goals.

My colleague Donnie Kwak is not the biggest fan of the away-goals rule, but I suspect he also may not be the biggest fan of fun, or of drama, or of the human spirit. This Roma comeback, which was facilitated by the away-goals rule, is the basis of this assumption. Away goals are dope for the following reasons:

  1. They make consolation goals, meaning goals conceded in garbage time, function as an Achilles’s heel for seemingly unkillable teams.
  2. They act to counterbalance the advantage of playing at home in the second leg.
  3. They allowed this, which is delightful, to happen:

Another note on Kostas Manolas, which is actually a note about Barcelona. The Catalan Giants, despite having four goals in this tie, actually scored only two of them. Which is to say that they weren’t all that great in the first leg, and Roma were unlucky. De Rossi scored the first own goal and Manolas scored the second. Which makes this clip of the Roma center back moved to tears by the singing of “Grazie Roma” at full-time after punching his team’s ticket to the semis—for the first time since 1984, no less—all the more beautiful.

Once again, soccer is the fucking best.