|Iniesta & Messi open the Arsenal can|
Barça dominated the first half of the match with 80% of the ball in their possesion. Arsenal was ultra - defensive & looked as if their strategy was to hold on to their advantage from the 1ºst leg & attempt an odd counter-attack to find some luck. Arsenal goalie Szczesny injured his hand & Spaniard Alumunia took his place & ended up being the best for Arseanl as the match went on with more the a dozen crucial saves.
The second half gave us all the real action with Iniesta finding a magical pass that LIONEL MESSI put into the net in the 49th min.
|Xavi scores for FC Barcelona|
Then came the unexpected & the "golden moment" for Arsenal when Nasri won a corner from nothing in which the awarded kick ended in an own goal by Barça player BUSQUETS in the 53rd min that put Arsenal into the driving seat. Barça at this stage needed two goals to qualify but the event of the match occurred in the 56th min - especially for Arsenal - when Van Persie received his second yellow card after kicking the ball into the crowd after being called offside. This act was interpreted by the referee as an "offence/time-waster" & thus sent him off with a red card putting Arsenal in the difficult position of only having 10 men & Barcelona at "full-steam". Leaving the controversy aside about if it was a yellow or not , it definitely was the turning point & the precise moment that Arsenal lost any chance of knocking out Barcelona from Champions.
From this point Barcelona "smelt blood" & poured the pressure that burst the Arsenal bubble with a XAVI 69th min goal.
|Messi scores a penalty|
Barça needed another to qualify & they attacked in waves with the Arsenal defence & goalie stopping everything fired at them. But a Pedro incursion in the 71st min lead to a box foul that was called a penalty & LIONEL MESSI stepped up & scored the third & definite goal. Arsenal reacted with Arshavin coming on along with Bendtner, & it nearly paid off when Bendtner in a counter-attack was about to shot the possible winner ( & qualifier) , but was put off in the last moment by Barça midfielder Mascherano who literally saved the night for Barça. Arsenal had the qualification in their hands, but ...
FC Barcelona move on & Arsenal will be unhappy & talking for days about the red card to Van Persie to which some will say he kicked the ball out on purpose & others that he did not hear the off-side call...