2010/11 Champions League Round of 16, 2nd Leg, Camp Nou

Messi flicks the ball over Almunia as he readies himself to put the ball in the net
Messi flicks the ball over Almunia as he readies himself to put the ball in the net

 

Having won the first leg, Arsenal came into this match with more confidence than they did in the second leg of the fixture the previous year. But the game did not start too well for the Gunners as goalkeeper Szczesny picked up an injury and had to be substituted and Manuel Almunia once again found himself ‘keeping against the Catalans. Chances were a plenty for Barcelona as Messi, Pedro and Villa all came close before Adriano thumped the post. Then, just as half time approached, Cesc Fabregas gave the ball away on the edge of his own half, performing a cheeky backheel in a dangerous area and Iniesta set up Messi for a lovely goal. The Argentine took a touch to control the ball, before flicking it over Almunia and coolly slotting it home. Advantage Barcelona.

Chances looked hard to come by for Arsenal even as the second half started but they got a way back from an unlikely source. Robin van Persie whipped in a corner for Arsenal and Sergio Busquets somehow headed it into his own goal. The game was back on from an Arsenal perspective as they had now gone back in front on aggregate and also cancelled David Villa’s away goal. But the slight hope that the visitors had was taken away as Robin van Persie soon received his marching orders. The Dutchman was played in behind the Barca defence and he duly took a shot, but alas the whistle had blown for offside and the referee decided that it was an attempt at time wasting and brought out a yellow card – van Persie’s second of the night. Soon after, Iniesta played in his midfield partner Xavi and the ever so elegant midfielder tucked it away to level the scores on aggregate and away goals. But with Arsenal a man down, the momentum was strongly in Barca’s favour and they got their third when Koscielny bundled down Pedro in the Arsenal penalty area. Messi made no mistake from the spot as Barca went ahead on aggregate. Arsenal fought for a late goal and almost got it when Wilshere sent Bendtner through on goal, but Javier Mascherano made a late block to save Barca the blushes. Pep Guardiola’s boys won the tie in the end and went on to win the tournament as well as perhaps one of the most dominant sides in European Football.

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