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September 25, 2021
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Champions League: Barcelona outgun ten-man Arsenal

A Lionel Messi-inspired FC Barcelona pushed through to the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals with a dramatic 3-1 victory on Tuesday night, uefa.com informs.


Messi put the home side in front; Sergio Busquets’ own goal swung the tie in Arsenal FC’s favour before the 56th-minute departure of Robin van Persie to a red card restored Barcelona’s ascendancy. Goals from Xavi Hernandez and Messi, from the penalty spot, confirmed it and, with a 4-3 aggregate triumph, the Spanish titleholders’ place in next Friday’s draw for the last eight.


“We are so happy with our performance and I think we deserve to be in the quarter-finals over the two legs we were better than them”, FC Barcelona coach Josep Guardiola told uefa.com after the game. “We played a fantastic game against 11 players and also when they were reduced to ten. We prevented them from stringing more than three passes together and created lots of chances ourselves. We had a look again at the first leg and decided what we could do in this game. It is their philosophy to play but we didn’t allow them to do that”, he added.


“I am still convinced that in the second half we could have done a lot at 1-1 if it had stayed 11 against 11. Once we were down to ten men it was very difficult”, Arsene Wenger, Arsenal manager said in his turn.


SUPERB SHAKHTAR COMPLETE ROMA CONQUEST


Two Willian goals and another from substitute Eduardo against AS Roma ensured the home side’s first knockout campaign will continue into the quarter-finals. FC Shakhtar Donetsk reached the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals for the first time after an impressive display completed a comfortable aggregate win against AS Roma (6-2).


Romanian coach Mircea Lucescu said he always expected his FC Shakhtar Donetsk side to beat AS Roma and book a place in the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals. The players, he added “have a great future ahead of them”, a sentiment echoed by Giallorossi counterpart Vincenzo Montella. Making his coaching debut at this level Lucescu found cause for hope for a team that lost 3-0 on the night after playing over half the match with ten men following Philippe Mexès’s dismissal.


EUROPA LEAGUE: PAST WINNERS LEAD PURSUIT IN LAST 16


Six UEFA Cup winners resume their glory chase as the UEFA Europa League last 16 begins on Thursday with two of them, PFC CSKA Moskva and FC Porto, in direct confrontation. Three-time UEFA Cup winner Liverpool FC face a potentially tricky visit to SC Braga. Manchester City FC, meanwhile, have a first expedition to Ukraine to take on an FC Dynamo Kyiv. Bayer 04 Leverkusen will have to be at their best to maintain the run at home to Villarreal CF. After FC Twente ousted FC Rubin Kazan in the round of 32, they must now tackle another Russian outfit in FC Zenit St Petersburg. Other games to be played on Thursday night: Ajax-Spartak Moscow, Benfica-PSG, PSV Eidnhoven-Glasgow Rangers.

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