When Roma had Barca’s number

Roma completely dominated Barcelona in their second leg quarterfinal game. Lionel Messi had a few sparkling moments here and there, but Barcelona never got a foothold in the match.

Superb comeback: Roma players celebrate after defeating Barcelona 3-0 in the quarterfinal second leg match of the Champions League at the Olympic Stadium in Rome. Roma, which lost the first leg 4-1, advanced to the semifinals on away goal.   -  AP

I’ll be honest, all my predictions for the Champions League games other than the Bayern Munich match were wrong. I think, as a whole these four games were the best quarterfinals in recent years.

The Bayern versus Sevilla game was very strange when it ended 0-0 because you would expect Bayern to score at home. That was a very cagey affair.

The Liverpool versus Manchester City match was outstanding. The one team that does really well against City is Liverpool, and one of the main reasons for this is that City plays a very high-press game which suits Liverpool.

Liverpool allowed City to keep the ball, and the minute the latter made a mistake, Jurgen Klopp’s men seized the chance. They did it in the Premier League once and twice in the Champions League, and I think that’s great coaching and a great execution by the players.

Heart-breaking Barca defeat

I’m a Barcelona fan, and I was personally heartbroken with the team’s result against Roma. Barcelona didn’t play particularly well in the first leg, but they still won 4-1, which was a very handy lead to take to Rome. I don’t think anyone picked Barcelona to lose 3-0 in the second leg. Yes, Barcelona does lose games, but for them to not score was unexpected.

I feel the whole team switched off and it wasn’t a tactical error as such. Roma completely dominated Barcelona. Lionel Messi had a few sparkling moments here and there, but Barcelona never got a foothold in the match. Of all the Champions League games, I think this was one of the best matches any team has played against Barcelona. For Roma to shut Barca out the way they did, it was outstanding.

For Roma to come back from two own goals and a 4-1 loss in the first leg to win the second 3-0 was remarkable. It also shows how important Edin Dzeko’s goal in the first leg was. I think this was one of the best quarterfinals.

Ronaldo masterclass

The Juventus versus Real Madrid match was a masterclass. It’s one of those games you’ll always remember. Juventus were smart by allowing Madrid to have possession, but did not let them create any chances. And the Juventus defence was top-notch.

Cristiano Ronaldo is an asset to Real Madrid. He’s one of the players who is always working hard. The way Ronaldo played the pass to Lucas Vazquez that led to the penalty was amazing. It was a greatly cushioned header. It’s sad that all the talks were about the penalty and Gianluigi Buffon’s reaction, but I think it was a great pass. As a striker, Ronaldo had a chance to have a go at goal, but he played the pass and knew exactly where Vazquez was. And to score the penalty the way he did, that was top class.

I take penalties for my team, and I tell you, the way Ronaldo scored that penalty with his side 3-0 down in the 90th minute was simply top-notch. It was high in the top corner and hit with such power, I think it was one of the best penalties I have seen.

Situation got the better of Buffon

The atmosphere got the better of Buffon and it was a red card. You are winning 3-0 at the Santiago Bernabeu and you are on the verge of qualifying. When something like this happens at such a crucial time, you are not thinking wisely. I think the situation got the better of Buffon.

Exciting semifinal draw

The semifinal draw is very interesting because all four teams are almost out of contention in their local leagues and can focus all their attention on the Champions League now.

Liverpool would have loved to play Bayern or Real, who play a more attacking football. Roma will be tricky opponents. The moment you give Liverpool space behind, they become very dangerous, and I’m sure Roma know this and they will work on it.

Mohamed Salah can’t stop scoring, Sadio Mane is so dynamic and Roberto Firmino has great skill in front of goal. I think Roma know that and will look to make amends.

Bayern versus Real is going to be a top game. It’s a clash between two top teams, history-wise, talent-wise and form-wise. In a neutral sense, all four games are a great watch.

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