Barça outguns Gunners

March 9, 2011

After losing 2-1 against Arsenal in the first round, FC Barcelona only needed a 1-0 victory to go through to the Champions League quarter-finals on away goals. However, 1-0 was never going to be enough against a team such as Arsenal and the reality was that Barça made things unnecessarily complicated for themselves thanks to a second half own goal by Busquets.

Barcelona came on looking like they intended to win and possession throughout the match was close to 70 percent. The majority of the play was in Arsenal’s half, which perhaps was just as well with Puyol still of through injury and Piquet serving a suspension. However, Arsenal was dealt a poor card in the 18th minute, when goalkeeper Szczesny was substituted through injury.

Arsenal started to look ruffled and things got heated, losing their cool. Meanwhile Barça continued a relentless attack on the Arsenal goalmouth and Barcelona really looking like they’d deliver the goods.  However, Arsenal were still still unnerved by Barça’s dominance continued going in hard. The result was a yellow card for Van Persie for a foul on Alves and he was perhaps lucky not to have been sent off immediately.

2 mins into injury time Messi came close to scoring, and then a minute later out the ball home to end the first half 1-0.

If the score had remained 1-0, Barcelona would have gone through. Unfortunately things are never that simple and while defending the Barça goal Busquets scored an own goal for the visitors, which changed things completely. However, once again the balance tipped in Barcelona’s favour, whenVan Persie was shown a second yellow card for proceeding after the offside whistle blown – a controversial decision, which the player contested with the ref.

Facing a 10 man Arsenal, Barça had a go at the goal again and again. Eventually Xavi scored in the 69th minute, meaning Barça needed just one more goal to secure their place. That came just 2 minutes later when Messi scored from the penalty spot following a foul on Pedro.
Arsenal meanwhile hadn’t quite given up and a few minutes before the final whistle mounted an attack on the Barcelona goal; however, Victor Valdes saved the day. The final score was 3-1 and the irony is that none was actuall scored by Arsenal.

1-0 Messi (min 48)
1-1 Busquets p.p. (min 52)
2-1 Xavi (min 69)
3-1 Messi (p) (min 71)

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