Posted: 4/11/2018


           My first ever trip abroad was to the 1960 Olympic Games and the Stadio Olympico in Rome. My last visit to this stadium was 30 years later for the 1990 World Cup Final ITALIA '90. West Germany v Argentina..a pretty boring match.

         Last night in the Imperial City was anything but boring !. 4-1 down to Barcelona in Camp Nou a week ago, all seemed lost, but the GIALLOROSSI, their coaching staff, their players and their fans  had other ideas. La Gazzetta dello Sport, the well read sporting daily from Milan, plus Corriera dello Sport in Roma and all other Italian media were in heaven with their headlines and front page spreads.

        "A night that will go down in history". " An epic to be retold as such". "There were Romans (De Rossi), and Greeks (Manolas) . There was the giant  Dzeko who put Roma on his shoulders like Anchises did with his son Aeneas.."  "It's a joy to the eyes, the glorification of football." Edin Dzeko who helped Manchester City to the EPL was courted recently by Chelsea, but the Bosnian stayed with Roma". " Edin harpoons balls and turns them into nightmares."

         Corriere gave all Roma players a score of 10 out of 10.  The club president Italian- American James Pallotta jumped into the Piazza de Popolo fountain fully clothed. The 3-0 home victory  meant that the Italians advance on away goals. Barca were knocked out in the last two seasons by Juventus and Atletico Madrid and are only the third team in the history of The Champions League to lose a tie after being three goals ahead. Roma are in the semi-finals for the first time since  1984. Dzeko 6, De Rossi 58 pk, Manolas 82 miniutes.

          Meanwhile at The Etihad in Manchester it seems as if another miracle was possible as the Sky Blues scored after 2 minutes to claw back from the 3-0 away leg on Merseyside. They dominated for 45 minutes, but their new stadium is no Anfield with its electric atmosphere. A second goal was wrongly disallowed by the Spanish referee before half time for offside. Pep Guardiola rushed onto the pitch to confront the referee at half time and was promptly sent to the stands. 

      A very cool goal from Salah in the 58th minute and then Firmani 13 years later took the sting out of the tail of The Citizens for a 5-1 result and Liverpools first semi-final for a decade. Five cups might become six.

      Meanwhile in Zenica in Bosnia Herzogoneva, Phil Nevilles Three Lionesses won 2-0 and leaped above Wales into top spot in their UEFA group for the one guaranteed place at the FIFA Womens World Cup in France 2019. After 5 matches they have 13 points with three more matches, all away in Russia, Wales and Kazakhstan. 24 teams will contest the finals including the hosts plus 8 European countries-the eight group winners plus two more. Toni Duggan of Barcelona broke the deadlock  for her 20th goal for England and a pk in added time from Jodie Taylor of Seattle Reign FC.

         " Talk about parking the bus, our opponents parked three or four buses.", claimed Neville.  His twin sister Tracey Neville is at present coaching the England netball team at The Commonwealth Games on The Gold Coast in Australia, while his son Harvey age 14  plays for the Valencia Academy team, and his brother Gary talks a lot on television.

          Other scores yesterday included : Northern Ireland 0 v Norway 3: Scotland 3 v Poland 0;  Rep.of Ireland 0 v Holland 2; Slovenia 0 v Germany 4;  Albania 0 v Belarus 0; Israel 0 v Serbia 1; Moldova 0 v Romania 0; Italy 2 v Belgium 1; Faroes 0 v Iceland 5; Austria 0 v Spain 1.