Ibañez stars as Roma record comeback win against Ajax in the Europa League
It was an entertaining game as Roma pulled an impressive comeback to claim an away win against Ajax in the first leg of their Europa League quarter-final clash. A crucial goal from Roger Ibañez went on to be the difference between both sides.
Both sides had opportunities of their own in the first half but a lapse in defence gave way for the opening goal. Davy Klaassen capitalized on a mishit pass from Amadou Diawara before playing a one-two pass with Dušan Tadić before he tapped home from close range.
In-form Tadić should have doubled Ajax’s lead and it could have been a different story.
The Ajax captain was fouled by Roger Ibañez but failed to score the resulting spot-kick as Pau López kept his side at bay by making a crucial save.
Against the run of play, it was Roma who leveled matters just before the hour-mark as Lorenzo Pellegrini sent in a stunning free-kick past goalkeeper Kjell Scherpen in the Ajax goal.
Brazilian centre-half Ibañez then turned the game around after he fired home a volley to earn Roma a late win. It was only his second goal of the season from 31 appearances across all competitions.
Speaking after the game, Ibañez stressed the importance of such a victory. He said: “I need to thank Pau López for saving the penalty [that I had given away]. Then I scored a goal I really wanted to score. We won an important game; now we must look forward.”
Given that Roma recorded an away victory, it gives them the upper hand ahead of the return leg next Thursday.