Saturday, April 9, 2011

Messi fires Barca past Arsenal into quarters

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Barcelona's Lionel Messi (top) celebrates with teammates Sergio Busquets, Pedro (17) and David Villa (L) after scoring Barcelona's third goal against Arsenal during their Champions League soccer match at Nou Camp stadium in Barcelona March 8, 2011.

BARCELONA - Lionel Messi ended 10-man Arsenal's Champions League hopes for the second season in a row when he netted a brilliant goal and a penalty to send Barcelona through to the quarter-finals 4-3 on aggregate on Tuesday.

The English club came from a goal down to win last month's first leg in London 2-1 and looked to be heading into the last eight when Sergio Busquets headed into his own goal in the 53rd at a packed and boisterous Nou Camp to make it 1-1 on the night.

However, Arsenal forward Robin van Persie was sent off three minutes later for a second yellow card and left the field protesting that he had not heard the referee blowing his whistle for offside over the din before he took a shot.

"How could I hear his whistle with 95,000 people jumping up and down?" Van Persie asked in a television interview with Sky Sports. "It was a total joke this sending off. It had a big influence (on the rest of the match)."

Xavi then struck in the 69th and Messi stroked the ball home from the spot in the 71st after Laurent Koscielny's foul on Pedro as the Spanish team ran out 3-1 winners on the night.

Favourites Barca missed numerous chances to add to their tally with Messi and David Villa denied by substitute goalkeeper Manuel Almunia.

Barca quickly asserted their customary dominance of possession at the Nou Camp, forcing the Arsenal players to chase the ball for long periods.

The visitors were forced to replace goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny with Almunia in the 19th minute after the Pole appeared to injure a finger when dealing with a Daniel Alves free kick.

World Player of the Year Messi put Barca ahead when he dashed on to Andres Iniesta's dinked pass in first-half stoppage time, lifted the ball over the onrushing Almunia and volleyed into the empty net.

After Busquets's error from a Samir Nasri corner, Xavi rifled home from close range before Messi, who netted all four goals in a 4-1 win at the Nou Camp in last season's quarter-finals, scored his second of the night.


No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.