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Roma held off Ajax, set up semi-final clash with Man Utd

Roma’s French midfielder Jordan Veretout embraces Roma’s Italian defender Gianluca Mancini at the end of the UEFA Europa League quarter final second leg football match AS Rome vs Ajax Amsterdam on April 15, 2021 at the Olympic stadium in Rome.
Filippo MONTEFORTE / AFP

Roma’s Edin Dzeko scored the equaliser in a 1-1 draw against Ajax on the night to advance to the Europa League semi-finals 3-2 on aggregate in Rome on Thursday.

The last Italian team left in European competition held off the Dutch to set up a final-four clash with Manchester United who beat Granada.

Roma had won the first leg 2-1 in Amsterdam, but the Dutch dominated early in the Stadio Olimpico taking the lead after the break with a Brian Brobbey goal.

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Dzeko tapped in with 18 minutes to go as the hosts held on to reach the final four of a European competition for the second time in four seasons after the Champions League in 2018.

Roma’s hopes of reaching the Champions League next season could depend on their success in the Europa League as they sit seventh in Serie A.

Jordan Veretout had an early chance to put the hosts ahead but his effort was ruled offside after eight minutes.

Roma goalkeeper Pau Lopez’s clumsy pass almost handed Ajax their first goal before Amadou Diawara blocked a Dusan Tadic effort.

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Ajax lost defender Sean Klaiber to a muscular injury after 22 minutes with Perr Schuurs coming on in his place.

Ajax Argentinian defender Nicolas Tagliafico (L) fouls Roma’s Armenian midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan during the UEFA Europa League quarter-final second leg football match AS Rome vs Ajax Amsterdam on April 15, 2021, at the Olympic stadium in Rome. Filippo MONTEFORTE / AFP

But Ajax controlled possession in the first half without being able to break through against a solid Roma defence and Lopez.

The breakthrough came four minutes after the break when Schuurs sent the ball over the top for second-half substitute Brobbey who beat the out-rushing Lopez.

It was 19-year-old’s third goal in the competition since the Dutch side joined the competition in the knockout stage.

The Roma keeper denied Brobbey a second ten minutes later before Tadic sent in the rebound which was ruled out after a VAR review for a foul on Henrikh Mkhitaryan in the build-up.

Roma’s Brazilian defender Roger Ibanez (Rear R) and Roma’s Guinean midfielder Amadou Diawara embrace at the end of during the UEFA Europa League quarter-final second leg football match AS Rome vs Ajax Amsterdam on April 15, 2021, at the Olympic stadium in Rome.
Filippo MONTEFORTE / AFP

Roma were on the scoreboard after 72 minutes with Bosnian Dzeko tapping in off a Riccardo Calafiori cross to beat Maarten Stekelenburg.

Four-time European champions Ajax were unable to snatch another goal which would have pushed the game into extra-time.

AFP

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