Lionel Messi struck twice as Barcelona defeated Arsenal 3-1 in the Nou Camp courtesy of a number of errors from Arsene Wenger’s side which sees them crash out of the Champions League.
Arsenal were made to work hard in the first half of the game with Barcelona stroking the ball around with ease and dominating possession easily in the first half.
Wenger was forced into a goalkeeping substitution when Szczesny injured his finger from a Dani Alves free kick and had to be replaced by forgotten man Almunia.
However, a suicidal moment of play from Captain Cesc Fabregas resulted in a Barcelona goal deep into stoppage time in the first half.
The Spaniard attempted a ridiculous back heel at the edge of the area before Inieasta intercepted and played the ball through to Messi who lobbed the ball over Almunia and volleyed into the back of the net.
The second half started off pretty much the way the first ended with Barcelona stroking the ball around with ease, until the 53rd minute when Arsenal were level after Busquets headed into his own net from an Arsenal corner, 1-1.
Arsenal were back in control and the onus was on Barcelona to attack even more now. However, three minutes after scoring Robin Van Persie saw red for Arsenal after he attempted a shot on goal after the referee had blown for outside. It is debatable whether he heard the referee’s whistle.
After being reduced to ten men it was looking like it was going to be a long night for Arsene Wenger’s men as Barcelona completely dominated possession and hammered the Arsenal goal, with Almunia being forced into a number of saves.
However there was nothing the Spaniard could do in the 69th minute after Xavi was played through on goal following some fancy footwork by Barcelona at the edge of the area before slotting home past Almunia to make it 2-1 to Barca and 3-3 on aggregate.
Arsenal were shell shocked after the goal and things got even worse for Wenger’s men two minutes later when Koscielny brought down Pedro inside the box to give Barca a penalty.
That man Messi stepped up and calmly finished passed Almunia to give Barcelona the lead.
Wenger threw on Arshavin and Bendtner in a desperate attempt to salvage the goal that would take his Arsenal side through to the next round and that might have happened in the dieing minutes, had Bendtner’s touch been better after being played through by Wilshire.
Barcelona held on easily and progress through to the next round after an impressive performance.
Arsene Wenger will point to the harsh sending off of Van Persie as the turning point in the game. But at the end of the day, his side were just not good enough.