Goals from each of Barcelona’s attacking trio secured the Catalan outfit’s progress into the quarter-finals of the Champions League courtesy of a 3-1 win on the night, and a 5-1 aggregate victory.
- Barcelona 3 (5) Arsenal 1 (1)
- Neymar opens scoring
- Elneny levels the scores
- Suarez restores lead
- Messi adds a third
Arsenal began the game brightly, but it was Barcelona who would take the lead in the 18th minute through Neymar.
The goal effectively sealed the Gunners fate at 3-0 down on aggregate, but they deserve credit for never giving up and drew level on the night through Mohamed Elneny in the 51st minute.
However, Luis Suarez restored their advantage in the 65th minute before Lionel Messi put the icing on the cake in the 88th minute to earn an emphatic 5-1 win over two legs.
9 – Barcelona are in the quarter-finals of the CL for the 9th season in a row, best run ever in the tournament. Alone.
— OptaJean (@OptaJean) March 16, 2016
Arsenal began the better of the sides as they looked to overturn the two-goal deficit from the first leg of their Champions League last-16 encounter against Barcelona.
However, they were unable to manufacture anything meaningful as Danny Welbeck and Alexis Sanchez had shots charged down early on before Mesut Ozil sent a tame strike harmlessly over the bar in the 10th minute.
The first real chance of the match fell to the Catalans in the 17th minute as Messi brought the ball down inside the Gunners area brilliantly, but was denied by David Ospina.
In the 18th minute, Jeremy Mathieu sent his header over the bar, but Barca would regain the ball from the restart and Suarez did brilliantly to create some space and square the ball for Neymar, who beat Ospina to put the home side 3-0 up on aggregate.
Arsenal would finish the half the strongest and Elneny had a golden chance for the Premier League side to go level in the 38th minute with a neat run to pick up a killer throughball from Ozil, but his shot was blocked by a scrambling Javier Masherano.
Two minute later, Sanchez got on the end of a pin-point Ozil cross with a perfectly-timed leap in the box, but his header went wide.
The Gunners continued their fight back after the break and Alex Iwobi had a shot blocked in the 49th minute. Two minutes later Sanchez teed the ball up for Elneny, who smashed a shot from just outside the area in the roof of the net to make it 1-1 on the night and give Arsenal some hope in the tie.
Barcelona responded instantly and Ospina had to come off his line in the 56th minute to pinch the ball off Messi before the Argentine sent a shot narrowly over the crossbar six minutes later.
The constant pressure from the hosts would eventually payoff in the 65th minute when Dani Alves played a superb lofted ball in for Suarez, who made no mistake with the finish to restore Barca’s lead on the night and take the aggregate score to 4-1 and effectively seal the tie.
17 – Luis Suarez has scored 17 times in his last 14 games for Barcelona. Finish.
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) March 16, 2016
However, Arsenal were not ready throw in the towel and Danny Welbeck hit the crossbar just two minutes after the goal.
There was a bit of a lull in the action as Barcelona retreated to defend their lead and the visitors struggled for ideas to break them down.
It picked up again with 10 minutes to go as Marc-Andre ter Stegen was forced into a smart save from a Sanchez free kick in the 80th minute and Olivier Giroud reacted quickest to the rebound, but the Catalans’ goalkeeper recovered well to pull off the double save.
In the end, it was Barcelona and Messi who would have the final say as the skillful playmaker executed a deft chip over Ospina in the 88th minute to take Barcelona into the quarter-finals by a comfortable 5-1 margin over two legs.
Barcelona 3-1 (5-1 agg.) Arsenal FT:
Chances created: 15-13
Pass acc: 89%-82% pic.twitter.com/o6BEbFTZnr
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) March 16, 2016