Roma 1-1 Ajax (Agg: 3-2): Former Manchester City striker Edin Dzeko leveled late to cancel Brian Brobbey’s goal and land the Europa League semi-final against Manchester United
- Roma face Manchester United in their last four Europa League games
- Brobbey scored four minutes after his half-time break for Ajax
- Dzeko’s 72nd minute ended the quarter-finals of the second leg
- The semi-finals of the first leg will be played on April 29 and the second leg on May 6
Roma reached the Europa League semi-finals with a 3-2 aggregate win over Ajax Amsterdam after Edin Dzekos later equalized in a 1-1 draw on Thursday.
The Italian side now face Manchester United, who beat Granada 2-0 on the night and 4-0 overall in the quarter-finals to get a place in next month’s final.
Brian Brobbey scored four minutes after his half-time introduction for Ajax, but Dzeko’s 72nd minute equalized the quarter-final of the second leg.
Edin Dzeko equalized when Roma booked their spot in the Europa League semi-finals
ROMA (3-4-2-1): López, Mancini, Cristante, Ibañez da Silva, Karsdorp, Diawara, Veretout, Calafiori (Villarat 81), Pellegrini, Mkhitaryan (Pedroat 87), Dzeko (Mayoralat 80)
GOAL: Dzeko 72
AJAX (4-3-3): Stekelenburg, Klaiber (Schuurs 22 / Idrissi 83), wood, Martínez, Tagliafico, Klaassen, Álvarez (Kudus 70), Gravenberch, dos Santos (Brobbey 45), Tadic, Neres Campos (Traoré 83)
GOAL: Brobbey 49
The visitors dominated possession and refused to allow a second goal for a foul by Nicolas Tagliafico, but struggled to break a determined central defense again despite a late attack.
“We had more problems in Amsterdam but we controlled them well today,” Roma coach Paulo Fonseca told Sky Italia. “Ajax are a very strong team with great quality, but we played a great game defensively.”
The capital club is Italy’s last remaining representative in European competition this season. The duel with United is the first European semi-final since a 7-6 defeat by Liverpool in the 2017/18 Champions League.
‘It’s satisfying. Reaching a semi-final is reason to be proud. We are currently representing Italy, which is a source of pride for the Roma, ”added Fonseca.
Roma made an early threat when Lorenzo Pellegrini sprinted half the length of the field but was disappointed by a weak finish and Jordan Veretout’s hand-to-hand fight was disqualified for offside.
The visitors’ best chance in the first half came from a mistake by Roma when Antony intercepted a careless pass from goalkeeper Pau Lopez and cut a cross back to Davy Klaassen. However, the midfielder was turned down by a crucial block from Amadou Diawara.
The former Manchester City striker equalized in the 72nd minute
Ajax had 75% of possession in the first half without breaking through, but it finally came four minutes into the second half when 19-year-old Brobbey clung to a long ball and scored a goal behind the onrushing Lopez.
It was the Dutch U21 striker’s third goal from the bench in the Europa League this season, more than any other player.
Ajax were on the rise and found the net again when Dusan Tadic shot home after a Lopez save, but his efforts were turned down after a VAR review for a previous tagliafico foul on Henrikh Mkhitaryan.
Roma’s chances were slim, but striker Dzeko clinically seized his chance when a deflected cross got in the way of the Bosnian at the back post.
Sub Brian Brobbey had given Ajax hope by leveling the tie four minutes after the break
The Ajax striker lifted the ball over the advancing goalkeeper to open the scoring