Barcelona 3-1 Arsenal – REPORT, STATS, MOMENTS
Lionel Messi set a new Champions League record for most goals scored against a single opponent as Barcelona cruised into the last eight with a routine 3-1 win over Arsenal at the Nou Camp.
The Argentine maestro put the seal on a 5-1 success on aggregate with a late strike that saw him take his tally versus the Gunners to nine in six matches as the Catalans’ famous triumvirate all got on the scoresheet.
Luis Suarez set up Neymar for the opener before restoring the hosts’ lead with a shinned volley into the top corner after Mohamed Elneny had given the visitors a glimmer of hope with a stunning equaliser.
In truth, Luis Enrique’s side played with the handbrake on for long spells but easily extended their unbeaten run to 38 matches in all competitions against an Arsenal side who at least put up a fight in Catalonia.
The Gunners gave a first Champions League start to Alex Iwobi and he saw a penalty appeal waved away after a challenge from Javier Mascherano while Alexis Sanchez headed a gilt-edged opportunity wide on a disappointing return to his old club.
Arsene Wenger’s side were always up against it but showed enough spirit to suggest they can come through a poor run of form that has seen his reign at the club come under greater scrutiny than ever before.
Barcelona remain the team to avoid in Friday’s draw for the last eight while Arsenal will now turn their attention to Saturday’s must-win clash at Everton as they bid to salvage their season following a run of one win in eight that has left them with just the Premier League to fight for.
10′ – ARSENAL CHANCE! An Arsenal counter sees Ozil use the runners to create the space to take aim and rifle a 25-yard drive just past Ter Stegen’s right-hand post.
17′ – BARCELONA CHANCE! Neymar clips a sensational pass over the top of the Arsenal defence for Messi who kills it dead before seeing his strike brilliantly tipped over the bar by Ospina.
18′ – GOAL! BARCELONA 1-0 ARSENAL. Arsenal give the ball away cheaply, allowing Suarez to pick out Neymar who coolly fires a low shot past Ospina at his near post. Too easy. (Barca lead 3-0 on aggregate).
34′ – ARSENAL PENALTY APPEAL! Iwobi races into the left side of the Barca area on the break and goes down under an accidental challenge from Mascherano. The Argentine appeared to clip the youngster’s heel. The referee waves it away. It’s a tough call for the visitors. It looked like a spot kick.
40′ – ARSENAL CHANCE! A big chance goes begging for the Gunners. Bellerin motors into space on the right and clips a sumptuous cross into the middle for Sanchez who guides a free header wide of the far post. He should have scored.
51′ – GOAL! BARCELONA 1-1 ARSENAL. The Gunners are level on the night. A great move down the right sees Sanchez cut it back to Mohamed Elneny who fires a stunning 20-yard strike into the top corner (Barca lead 3-1 on aggregate).
65′ – GOAL! BARCELONA 2-1 ARSENAL. Barcelona regain the lead and it’s that man Suarez. The Uruguayan volleys a stunning finish into the top corner from Alves’s cross, despite the fact it looked like it came off his shin (Barca lead 4-1 on aggregate).
80′ – ARSENAL CHANCE! Sanchez sees a curling free kick palmed back into play by Ter Stegen. The keeper then makes another stop to deny Giroud on the rebound.
88′ – GOAL! BARCELONA 3-1 ARSENAL. Messi dinks a sublime finish over Ospina after Neymar had carved the Arsenal defence apart (Barca lead 5-1 on aggregate).
Messi has set a new Champions League record by scoring more goals vs a single opponent than anyone else (nine v Arsenal).
Arsenal have gone out at the last 16 stage of the Champions League in each of the last six seasons.
Mohamed Elneny scored his first goal for Arsenal and his first goal in the Champions League.
Suarez has scored 17 times in his last 14 games for Barcelona.
Barcelona reach the quarterfinals of the Champions League for the 14th time.
Barcelona are the third club to reach 100 home wins in the Champions League/European Cup.
Lionel Messi (36), Luis Suarez (6) and Neymar (9) have now scored 51 goals for FC Barcelona in the CL knockout stages.