“Dzeko, you diamond!”
The ecstatic exclamation from a Bosnian journalist during his nation’s 2010 World Cup qualifier against Belgium, has given a unique moniker to now the AS Roma striker Edin Dzeko.
The same amount of ecstasy exploded on Tuesday nigh when the Bosnian Diamond crack opened La Liga runaway leaders Barcelona in what turned out to be a remarkable turnover in Rome.
Trailing 4-1 from the first leg at Camp Nou, AS Roma were faced with a seemingly impossible task against one of Europe’s strongest sides. Having scored his team’s only goal in the first leg, Dzeko emerged as a hero for Giallorossi with two sublime performances that earned his widespread plaudits from pundits and general football public.
Ernesto Valverde was right to pinpoint the former Manchester City front man as the biggest threat for his team ahead of the second leg in Rome.
Having learned from the mistakes Paris Saint-Germain made last season when Barcelona overturned a 4-0 deficit in the Round of 16 to win 6-1 with a late flurry of goals at Camp Nou, AS Roma went on to put a dazzling display against overconfident Barcelona with Edin Dzeko on song.
The Bosnian managed to extend his fine scoring run in the Champions League – having scored in his past two games in the competition – whereas his total tally stands at 20 goals across all competitions.
Dzeko’s five Champions League goals – Squawka reports – came from 25 shots in total which are the two different numbers that clearly testify of his movement and positioning, ultimately of his importance in AS Roma’s team play.
As far as his Tuesday night’s appearance is concerned, Edin Dzeko was much more than a goal scorer.
The Bosnian diamond was such a huge presence on the pitch as well, making 5 successful areal duels to help his team gain footing against ball-holding Barcelona. A proper battering ran upfront for AS Roma, Dzeko singlehandedly carried his team forward with Barcelona defenders struggling to contain him.
The Bosnian had a direct hand in AS Roma’s second goal as well as he was the man Gerrard Pique brought down in the box for the penalty kick.
Edin Dzeko – and his fellow Balkan boy Aleksandar Kolarov – are a definite proof that football is much more than money.
Former Manchester City stars, the both of them, left the Premier League for Italy – albeit at different times – and were expected to dwindle down in obscurity. Both of them, this season, play important roles in their club and have a realistic chance of winning the Europe’s elite competition in their Indian summer at Roma.
Dzeko had a chance to get back to the Premier League and prove his point after being unfairly and undeservedly – almost – forced out of City, as Chelsea wanted him to come to Stamford Bridge last winter as a back-up option for Alvaro Morata.
The Bosnian Diamond would never settle for a second-fiddle role and now has every right to send a sly dig towards the Stamford Bridge Blues.
“I’m not interested in money. It was not easy but I stayed here for this kind of game. I’m happy and I think the club are too.”, Dzeko said after the game last night.
Commenting on his team’s appearance against Barcelona, Dzeko acknowledged that it was a team victory, achieved by constant pressing and high tempo which backed Barcelona into a corner with three deadly punches sealing the faith of Valverde’s side.
AS Roma – and Liverpool for that matter – head into the Champions League semi-finals as perennial dark horses. Chances are the other two semi-finalists – will now have a different perspective of AS Roma’s ability.
With 10/1 betting odds currently stacked in their favour to win the Champions League, AS Roma will once again rely on Edin Dzeko to lead them forward, regardless of the opposition.
The Bosnian will, of course, reply the best way he can.
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