After defeating Feyenoord of the Netherlands 4-1 on Thursday for a 4-2 aggregate victory, Stephan El Shaarawy and Lorenzo Pellegrini scored goals in extra time to give the home team AS Roma a place in the Europa League semifinals.
After 101 minutes, Tammy Abraham’s cross was converted by El Shaarawy, and seven minutes later, captain Pellegrini, who missed a penalty in the first leg last week, put the game away by converting a rebound from an Abraham shot.
Following Roma’s Conference League championship last season, Portuguese manager Jose Mourinho was effusive in his praise for his squad when they advanced to their second consecutive European semifinal.
“Maybe someone thinks differently, but in my view, the team played very well in a difficult match to deal with,” he told Sky Sport Italia.
“I’m sure the fans would have gone home happy for the team regardless of the result. We have limits, but this team is a family.”
Feyenoord won the first leg of the quarterfinal match 1-0, while Roma attempted to score early but missed two excellent chances in the first 10 minutes.
As the opponent became more active in the game, Roma goalkeeper Rui Patricio was compelled to save Sebastian Szymanski from scoring from close range.
Roma had a fantastic opportunity right after the break, but Pellegrini’s shot struck the post after being set up by a cross at the near post.
“I have to admit that the feelings began even before the game. You are aware that you must succeed for these individuals, who sacrifice everything for us; as a result, we must make every effort to please them, Pellegrini remarked.
At the hour mark, Leonardo Spinazzola took advantage of a deflection in the area to poke the ball into the bottom corner, causing roars of relief to break out across the Stadio Olimpico.
Paulo Dybala and Abraham, two important players who were forced to sit out of the first leg due to injuries, were brought on midway through the second half to try and win it.
Igor Paixao of Brazil scored an equalizer for the visitors in the 80th minute after Szymanski crossed the ball into the box unattended. However, Dybala leveled the final score one minute before stoppage time with a shot from an awkward angle.
For a knee-high challenge on Gianluca Mancini in the dying seconds of the game, Feyenoord forward Santiago Gimenez was given a straight red card.
“I am never angry when we don’t do well, because I know these players gave everything. Now we must rest as much as we can, prepare for Serie A and forget the Europa League for now,” Mourinho said.
Roma will meet Bayer Leverkusen in the semi-finals on May 11 and 18 after the German side knocked out Union Saint-Gilloise 5-2 on aggregate.