ROME (Reuters) - AS Roma coach Eusebio di Francesco paid tribute to the spirit of his team after they beat Liverpool 4-2 in the Champions League semi-final second leg on Wednesday but lost a gripping tie 7-6 on aggregate.
Roma defeated Barcelona 3-0 at home to overturn a 4-1 first-leg deficit in the quarter-finals but two late goals by Radja Nainggolan were not enough to cap another successful comeback.
This year we did something truly extraordinary,” Di Francesco told reporters. “I’m a little angry and I keep going over it. What more could we have been done?
“Liverpool did not rob us of anything. They played like a great team... The team that won, won on the details.”
The tie produced the most goals in a Champions League semi-final following Liverpool’s 5-2 victory in the first leg.
“There should be more games like this one,” Di Francesco said. “It was very impressive coming to the stadium tonight and seeing all the people. I’m sorry we couldn’t give them a truly magic evening. Even after the first half, I was convinced we could get them in the second half.”
Roma fell behind to an early goal by Liverpool’s Sadio Mane but equalised through a fortunate own goal from James Milner.
Georginio Wijnaldum put the Premier League side back ahead on the night but Roma, needing four goals to level the tie, fought back in the second half through Edin Dzeko and Nainggolan’s late double.
It was not quite enough to send Roma through to their first European Cup final since 1984 when they lost to Liverpool in their own stadium.
“I’m very happy with the growth of the mentality of the team,” Di Francesco said.
Writing by Ed Osmond; Editing by Toby Davis