Barca and Shakhtar advances to QF after defeating a 10-man Arsenal and Roma on Champions League clash
Lionel Messi scored two goals as Barcelona defeated 10-man Arsenal, 3-1, at the Camp Nou to win their round of 16 Champions League series, 4-3 on aggregate.
Arsenal claimed the first game in England, 2-1, but Barca dominated the second leg and the controversial sending off of Robin van Persie early after half all but sealed the Premier League club’s fate.
Messi scored the opening goal three minutes into first-half stoppage time and, after Sergio Busquets scored an own goal for Arsenal, Xavi and Messi scored in a two-minute stretch against the short-handed visitors to seal the win.
Barcelona was joined in the last eight by Shakhtar Donetsk, which beat 10-man Roma 3-0 on Tuesday in the Ukraine to secure a 6-2 aggregate win. Shakhtar won the first leg in Italy, 3-2.
Barcelona pressured Arsenal from the opening whistle and a Dani Alves’ shot in the 16th forced a save from Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny, who left the match minutes later with an unknown injury.
Barca’s David Villa forced a save from substitute goalie Manuel Almunia in the 33rd, and Adriano found the post in the 36th as Arsenal remained on its heels.
Messi let Almunia off the hook early in first-half stoppage time when he drove into space but fired into the goalie’s chest, but wasn’t as kind a few minutes later.
Andres Iniesta put the Argentine magician into the right side of the area, and he lifted the ball over a sliding Almunia and volleyed his own chip pass into an empty net from close range for a beautiful finish.
Messi’s 32nd goal in European competition put Barcelona ahead in the series on away goals, with the aggregate level at 2-all.
Arsenal got the break it needed early in the second half when Samir Nasri won a corner kick that turned into an own goal when his cross was headed into the net by Busquets in the 53rd.
The Gunners grabbed a 3-2 lead in the series, meaning Barca needed a goal just to force extra time.
But Barca got a break minutes later when Van Persie was sent off for receiving a second yellow card, a decision from referee Massimo Busacca that can be only described as horrible. Van Persie was booked for time wasting, after he took a shot after he was ruled offside in the loud 100,000-seat stadium.
David Villa was denied twice in a quick stretch by Almunia as Barca piled on a ton of pressure, and short-handed Arsenal finally collapsed.
Xavi finished a quick passing combination from Iniesta and Villa with a solid finish into the bottom left in the 79th and, after Laurent Koscielny took down Pedro in the area, Messi added his second goal off a penalty kick with a shot to the bottom right in the 72nd.
Barcelona led 4-3 on aggregate after the two goals, leaving and 10-man Arsenal virtually no chance, despite needing only one goal to win on away goals.
Jack Wilshere played Nicklas Bendtner into the area late in normal time, but a desperation sliding tackle from Barca’s Javier Mascherano prevented a shot – leaving Arsenal without a single shot the entire game – and allowed goalkeeper Victor Valdes to exhale as the hosts escaped the Gunners’ final chance.
Shakhtar sealed its berth in the last eight with a convincing win over Roma at Donbass Arena, where it is unbeaten since the stadium opened in 2009.
Tomas Hubschman scored the opening goal in the 18th minute for Shakhtar, which took a 4-2 aggregate lead and left Roma needing three away goals for a miracle rally.
Roma, which was unbeaten in three Serie A games, had a chance to get back into the series before the half-hour mark, but Marco Borriello’s penalty kick was saved at the bottom right by Shakhtar goalie Andriy Pyatov.
Roma’s Philippe Mexes was sent off for his second yellow in the 41st, and Roma should have gone down to nine men before half when Daniele De Rossi drove his elbow into Darijo Srna but escaped without a card. Srna got a yellow instead.
Shakhtar’s advancement was never in doubt after the break, as Willian doubled the advantage in the 58th to leave the hosts in complete control for the final 45 minutes.
Eduardo added the final goal for Shakhtar three minutes from time, sealing an impressive series win for the 2009 UEFA Cup winners.