Roma 1-1 Ajax (agg: 3-2): Dzeko strike books semi-final against United

Roma 1-1 Ajax (agg: 3-2): Former Manchester City striker Edin Dzeko nets late equaliser to cancel out Brian Brobbey strike and book Europa League semi-final clash against Manchester United

  • Roma will face Manchester United in the last four of the Europa League
  • Brobbey struck for Ajax four minutes after his half-time introduction 
  • Dzeko’s 72nd minute finish levelled the scores in the quarter-final second leg
  • Semi-final first leg to be played on April 29 and the second leg on May 6

Roma advanced to the Europa League semi-finals with a 3-2 aggregate win over Ajax Amsterdam after Edin Dzeko’s late equaliser secured a 1-1 home draw on Thursday.

The Italian side will now face Manchester United, who beat Granada 2-0 on the night and 4-0 on aggregate in their quarter-final second leg, for a place in next month’s final.

Brian Brobbey struck for Ajax four minutes after his halftime introduction but Dzeko’s 72nd minute finish levelled the scores in the quarter-final second leg.

Edin Dzeko scored the equaliser as Roma booked their place in Europa League semi-final

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), Timber, Martínez, Tagliafico, Klaassen, Álvarez (Kudus 70), Gravenberch, dos Santos (Brobbey 45), Tadic, Neres Campos (Traoré 83)

GOAL:  Brobbey 49

The visitors dominated possession and had a second goal disallowed for a Nicolas Tagliafico foul but struggled to again break down a resolute home defence despite a late onslaught.

‘We had more problems in Amsterdam, but today we controlled them well,’ Roma coach Paulo Fonseca told Sky Italia. ‘Ajax are a very strong team with great quality, but defensively we played a great game.’

The capital club are Italy’s last remaining representative in European competition this season, and the clash with United will be their first European semi-final since a 7-6 aggregate defeat by Liverpool in the 2017/18 Champions League.

‘It’s satisfying. Reaching a semi-final is cause for pride, we are representing Italy at the moment that’s a source of pride for Roma,’ Fonseca added.

Roma threatened early on as Lorenzo Pellegrini sprinted half the length of the pitch but was let down by a weak finish, and Jordan Veretout’s close-range effort was ruled out for offside.

The visitors best chance of the first half came courtesy of a Roma error when Antony intercepted a careless pass by goalkeeper Pau Lopez and cut a cross back to Davy Klaassen, but the midfielder was denied by a crucial Amadou Diawara block.

The former Manchester City striker slotted home the equaliser in the 72nd minute

Ajax had 75% of the possession in the first half without finding a breakthrough but it eventually came four minutes into the second half when 19-year-old Brobbey latched onto a long ball and knocked a finish beyond the onrushing Lopez.

It was the Netherlands Under-21 striker’s third goal from the bench in the Europa League this season, more than any other player.

Ajax were in the ascendancy and found the net again when Dusan Tadic fired home after a Lopez parry, but his effort was disallowed following a VAR review for a previous Tagliafico foul on Henrikh Mkhitaryan.

Roma’s chances were few and far between but striker Dzeko clinically took his when a deflected cross fell into the Bosnian’s path at the back post for a tap-in.

Sub Brian Brobbey had given Ajax hope by levelling the tie four minutes after half-time

 The Ajax forward lifted the ball over the advancing goalkeeper to open the scoring

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