Ex-Roma Defender Fazio Recalls ‘Indescribable Joy’ in UCL Victory Against Barcelona

Former Roma defender Federico Fazio reminisced the days of old when the Giallorossi overturned a 4-1 away leg deficit at Stadio Olimpico by bagging a 3-0 victory over Barcelona that has since gone down as one of the club’s greatest ever displays in the Champions League. The Argentine centre-back recently moved to Salernitana but was pulled back into nostalgia during an exclusive interview with Italian outlet Il Mattino (via LaRoma24).

“The truth is that we believed in making a comeback from the very moment the match in Barcelona ended. We were sure we could overturn it in the second leg. Despite losing 4-1 in the first leg, that game didn’t feel as rough as the result may have indicated,” he revealed.

Fazio, who started both legs, believes his side were dealt with a harsh score line despite their courageous showing at Camp Nou in the first leg

He said: “We hadn’t suffered so much as a team and we didn’t deserve defeat. We were aware of the good performance of the first leg and this gave us great confidence. It had been a fair game and the result wasn’t a reflection of it. Plus, we had the quality and the players to overturn that result.”

He then disclosed the ‘positive energy’ Roma felt before the second leg in the Italian capital

“You could smell something in the air during the training session leading up to the match at the Olimpico. There was a lot of positive energy inside the dressing room.”

Roma put up a majestic defensive display against the Blaugrana in both halves, restricting the visitors for much of the match. They dominated Barcelona defensively and offensively – from aerial balls won to total shots – and eventually made it through on away goals rule.

Fazio remembers the role the Giallorossi defenders had to play in order to push for a win.

“As defenders we knew that unlike today, away goals were worth double, so we had to make an extra effort: to concede a goal would have knocked us out. When Manolas scored the goal to make it 3-0, it was a moment of such indescribable joy because we were playing a perfect match and Barcelona had never managed to get a shot on goal. All we were missing was a goal to complete the feat and Kostas’ header made it happen.”

Barcelona’s juggernaut proved to be set-pieces once again, as Kostas Monalas headed home from a corner in the 83rd minute to complete an unbelievable comeback and proceed to the semi-finals.

“Di Francesco told us to throw ourselves into the mix without fear because we were strong on set pieces. That was one of the many situations we had studied and thought about in training during the week. We worked a lot on set pieces and we knew that even from there we could hurt Barcelona,” he revealed.

Roma went on to lose the last four tie against eventual winners Liverpool, but will forever remember the historic night in Rome as one of their best ever displays.