Champions League: Messi leaves Arsenal Stunned


Barcelona players Neymar, right, and Luis Suarez celebrate after Lionel Messi, left, scored the second goal during the soccer Champions League round of 16 first leg soccer match between Arsenal and Barcelona at the Emirates stadium in London, Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2016. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)

Barcelona’s Lionel Messi broke free from Arsenal’s shackles to score two late goals and put the Champions League holders on the precarious edge of the quarter-finals with a clinical 2-0 triumph at the Emirates Stadium on Tuesday.

The irrepressible Argentine, alongside strike accomplices Luis Suarez and Neymar, had been curbed for a large portion of the last 16, first-leg tie however woke up late on, clinically completing off a lightning counter-assault and afterward dispatching a punishment.

“They are 95 percent through to the quarter-finals certainly,”Arsenal supervisor Arsene Wenger, whose side had shielded emphatically for 71 minutes until disintegrating, told columnists.

“It’s a shame we didn’t get any satisfaction because we put everything into it.”

Luis Enrique’s Barca side extended their unbeaten raced to 33 matches and, excepting something remarkable in the arrival at the Nou Camp next month , will assume their position in the last eight for the ninth season in succession.

“I liked everything we did tonight,” the Spaniard told correspondents.

Messi has demonstrated a persistent issue for Arsenal on each of the last two events the groups have met in the Champions League.

In 2010 he scored four times in the most recent 16 second leg to send Barca through and after a year he struck twice in a 3-1 win in Spain after Arsenal had edged the first leg.

Messi, Suarez and Neymar had scored 91 objectives in all rivalries this season heading into Tuesday’s amusement yet none of the dreaded trident dealt with an exertion on focus in the principal half as Arsenal’s fans wrenched up the decibel levels.

Armory were persistent and ought to have proceeded halfway through the principal half when Hector Bellerin’s scraped shot succumbed to Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain however he scooped his exertion straight into the arms of manager Marc-Andre ter Stegen.

The Catalans started to travel through the riggings however and either side of halftime squandered two heavenly risks.

Suarez, who has 41 objectives in all rivalries this term, headed Dani Alves’ dinked cross wide with the goal gaping before

Neymar was denied by goalkeeper Petr Cech subsequent to being played in by Andres Iniesta.

Kept from the ball for long stretches, Arsenal still represented a risk and Ter Stegen did well to keep out Olivier Giroud’s short proximity header from a Mesut Ozil cross.

Arsenal store developed in conviction however it cost them dear as they conferred players forward and got stung on the break.

With 19 minutes left they lost the ball close to Barca’s objective and Suarez and Neymar consolidated in pulverizing design, the Brazilian unselfishly choosing Messi who steadied himself before beating Cech without precedent for his profession.

Suarez then hit the post when he ought to have scored before Messi scored once more, this time with a serenely struck punishment after substitute Mathieu Flamini had stumbled him.