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Messi Arsenal

Posted: 08 Mar 2011 09:30 PM PST

Barca deserve place in last eight with numerous chances, says 'Pep'

Wednesday, March 9th, 2011 13:09:00

Football

MESSI STUNNER: The Argentine ace scored two goals to gun down Arsenal

BARCELONA: Manager Josep "Pep" Guardiola believed Barcelona proved they were better than Arsenal after beating the Gunners 3-1 in the last-16 second-leg clash at Nou Camp this morning.

With this, the Catalans won 4-3 on aggregate to move into the quarterfinals.

Barca secured the win with goals by Xavi in the 69th minute and a Lionel Messi brace in the 45th and 71st (via a penalty).

Arsenal replied through an own goal by Sergio Busquets in the 53rd minute.

Arsenal also saw Dutch striker Robin van Persie sent off in the 56th minute after two bookable offences.

Guardiola praised his side for the number of chances they created and claimed the Gunners simply could not keep possession of the ball.

"Arsenal are a very good team but they didn't make three passes in a row," he told Sky Sports.

"So we created many, many chances. We kept a lot of control and played the perfect game. They defended very, very well but they didn't pass more than three or four passes."

Van Persie branded the decision to send him off "a joke" and Guardiola admitted he could understand the frustration.

"I can understand Arsenal, because it's difficult with 10 against 11, and I can understand the reaction about van Persie — the second yellow," he said.

"I try to look at the game, how we play, how they play. In this situation we are so, so happy with our performance. I think we deserve to be in the quarterfinals. In the two legs we have been better than them."

There was this big gap in quality between the two teams this morning.

Never mind van Persie's controversial dismissal. The visitors had no shots on goal, something incredibly disappointing, and with only 24 per cent possession, it shows just how dominant the hosts were.

Barca midfielder Andres Iniesta, meanwhile, believes Arsenal had every intention of playing defensive. He saw players such as Tomas Rosicky and Samir Nasri, drop back and help out defensively, but is pleased to have overcome the English club.

"On many occasions, they defended with six players because Rosicky and Nasri came back to help out the defence," Iniesta told the club's website.

"We were forced to play well. The team deserved the victory and we succeeded in achieving this. There were many good players involved in the Champions League tie.

"We anticipated they would push back, but we tried to do things right. We had the misfortune of scoring an own goal. We knew we had to stay close to their players, especially on the counter-attack. Our defence has been great this season, and prevented them from causing any danger.

"The outlook is good, as we are where we wanted to be. The last part of the season is the hardest, yet the most beautiful. We have to keep on doing what we are doing."

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Shakhtar cruise to first quarterfinals with win over Roma

Posted: 08 Mar 2011 08:56 PM PST

Wednesday, March 9th, 2011 12:54:00

DONETSK: Shakhtar Donetsk manager Mircea Lucescu believes that reaching the quarterfinals of the Champions League means they have now created a "new benchmark".

The Ukrainian club qualified for the quarterfinals for the first time in their history after defeating 10-men Roma 3-0 at home this morning in their last-16 second-leg match to win the tie 6-2 on aggregate.

Lucescu hailed his players for the success.

"This team are maturing. We have players of 20 and 21-years-old, under contract for four to five years," Lucescu told Fifa's website.

"We won the Uefa Cup (in 2009), we have created a new benchmark against Roma. What interests me is to take a step forward. We are not thinking of what comes next."

Shakhtar's goals were scored by Tomas Hubschman, Willian and Eduardo.

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