Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large
Lionel Messi, left, takes on Andrey Arshavin during Barcelona's 3-1 win at Camp Nou.
Lionel Messi, left, takes on Andrey Arshavin during Barcelona's 3-1 win at Camp Nou.

Barcelona advance in Champions League as Arsenal fail to stop Messi

The brilliance of Lionel Messi crushes Arsenal once again as the striker scores two in Barcelona's 3-1 win at Camp Nou to send them to the quarter-finals.

Barcelona 3 // Arsenal 1 (Barcelona win 4-3 on aggregate)

BARCELONA // The brilliance of Lionel Messi crushed Arsenal's Champions League dreams for the second season in a row when the World Player of the Year netted twice to propel Barcelona into the quarter-finals.

A tense last-16 second leg at Camp Nou, which the Primera Liga club completely dominated, was marred for Arsenal by the controversial dismissal of striker Robin van Persie 11 minutes into the second half.

A Sergio Busquets own goal to level the scores at 1-1 would have put the visitors through but a fine strike from Xavi and Messi's penalty gave the 2009 winners a 3-1 victory and a 4-3 aggregate success that sent them into the last-eight for a fourth successive season.



Arsenal's Wilshere should win the Young Player of the Year award
Barcelona coach checks out of hospital in attack mode against Arsenal
Has Lionel Messi learned from English lessons?


Arsenal were furious with the referee over the sending-off but they failed to muster a single shot on goal in the entire game while Barca managed 19. The Primera Liga leaders had almost 70 per cent of the possession at a packed and boisterous Camp Nou stadium and completed 738 passes to Arsenal's 199.

"We played a fantastic match against 11 and against 10," Barca coach Pep Guardiola said. "We did not allow them to make more than three consecutive passes."

Arsenal were chasing the ball from the kick-off and were rocked when they were forced to replace goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny with Manuel Almunia in the 19th minute after the Pole dislocated a finger when dealing with a Daniel Alves free-kick.

As Barca pressed for a goal, Adriano Correia raced in from the left-wing in the 36th minute and struck a fierce angled shot against the post. Messi twisted and turned into space in the penalty area moments later but shot straight at Almunia.

The Argentina forward, who netted all four goals in a 4-1 win over Arsenal at Camp Nou in last season's quarter-finals, put Barca ahead when he dashed on to Andres Iniesta's dinked pass, lifted the ball over the keeper with an audacious flick and volleyed into the empty net.

After Busquets's error from a Samir Nasri corner, Xavi rifled home from close range in the 69th minute and Messi claimed his second in the 71st following Laurent Koscielny's foul on Pedro.

Substitute Nicklas Bendtner had a chance to score in the dying minutes but he was denied by a brilliant covering tackle from midfielder Javier Masherano before Barca ran down the clock to complete a deserved victory.

"This was footballing justice. We were very superior both here and there (in the first leg)," Xavi said.

"We had an infinite number of chances to kill the game off but it was Leo who again made the difference."

Messi's goals were his seventh and eighth in the competition this season, putting him one ahead of Chelsea's Nicolas Anelka, Inter Milan's Samuel Eto'o and Bayern Munich's Mario Gomez at the top of the scoring charts.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger was furious about the Van Persie sending-off, which he felt changed the game at a time his side were coming back into contention.

"At the moment he made his decision it was a very promising game, very interesting," the Frenchman said.

"If you have played football at a certain level you cannot understand this decision. It's impossible.

"I felt we would have come back into the game. Overall I am convinced we would have won this game."

Barca, who also beat Arsenal in the 2006 final, will go into the March 18 draw for the last eight when they could be pitted against Real Madrid if their arch-rivals get past Lyon next week.

Back to the top

More articles

Editor's Picks

 Mitchell Johnson of Kings XI Punjab bowling in the IPL match against Rajasthan Royals at Sharjah Cricket Stadium in Sharjah on Sunday. Pawan Singh / The National / April 20, 2014

IPL Day 5 action in Sharjah

Images from the fifth day of the Indian Premier League in the UAE on Sunday, with Kings XI Punjab beating Rajasthan Royals by seven wickets with eight balls remaining.

 Raheem Sterling of Liverpool scores the opening goal against Norwich City on Sunday at Carrow Road. Michael Regan / Getty Images / April 20, 2014

In pictures: Sterling, Suarez inch Liverpool closer to title

Raheem Sterling, with a double, and Luis Suarez accounted for all three goals in Liverpool’s 3-2 away win over Norwich City on Sunday, leaving them five points up on Chelsea with three left to play.

 Manager Matt Williams benching star Bryce Harper, above, may have sent the wrong message to the rest of the Washington Nationals. Mike Ehrmann / AFP

Benching Harper sends Williams’s right message the wrong way

Matt Williams, the Washington Nationals manager, made the biggest move of his 18-game tenure on Saturday, benching rising star Bryce Harper for his “lack of hustle”.

 Arsenal's Lukas Podolski celebrates his second goal during the Premier League match against Hull City at The KC Stadium in Hull, England, on April 20, 2014. Lynne Cameron / AP Photo

Arsenal maintain push for top-four finish with victory at Hull

Hull could end up in Europe regardless of the FA Cup final result if Arsenal finish in the Uefa Champions League places

 Ashish Nehra of Chennai Super Kings bowls to Kings XI Punjab at Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi. Ravindranath K / The National

Hard-hitting Chennai not deterred by opening loss in IPL

But some questions remain about the team's attack ahead of Monday's match against Delhi Daredevils in Abu Dhabi, writes Osman Samiuddin.

 Stanislas Wawrinka turned away fellow Swiss Roger Federer with a 4-6, 7-6, 6-2 victory at the Monte Carlo Masters on April 20, 2014. Julian Finney / Getty Images

Wawrinka backhands Federer aside at Monte Carlo Masters

Stanislas Wawrinka won the Monte Carlo Masters for the first time after rallying to beat Roger Federer 4-6, 7-6, 6-2 in a rare all-Swiss final.


To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National