Neymar, Suárez and Messi on scoresheet as Arsenal knocked out despite valiant effort

Neymar, Suárez and Messi on scoresheet as Arsenal knocked out despite valiant effort
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FT: That's it from me tonight, thanks for following VAVEL's live commentary this evening! Keep following along for the latest with Olli Emmerson as the Bayern Munich - Juventus fixture promises to go the distance - extra time is needed in Germany to separate the two sides! Until next time, I've been Mosope Ominiyi - goodnight!

90+2: FULL-TIME! Barcelona (5) 3-1 (1) Arsenal. Game over, and the Gunners are out of this season's Champions League - in spite of a valiant away effort, they failed to convert the majority of their chances and were punished by the world's best attacking trio when it mattered.

90: Two minutes of stoppage time to be played now..

Just a minute after ter Stegen denied Walcott from close-range, Messi does the unthinkable and dances past the Gunners' backline before chipping Ospina from improbable range to make it 3-1 on the night, 5-1 on aggregate.


It's all kicking off here, and that's probably the sign that tells Arsenal fans it won't be their day after all. Alexis is initially denied what would've been a fantastic free-kick by an excellent diving save from ter Stegen before Giroud sees his effort saved too. Then Walcott heads goalward, only to be cleared off the line by Mascherano.


79: A yellow card almost instantly after being introduced into the fray for former Atletíco Madrid midfielder Arda Turan, a cynical foul on Monreal as the Spaniard was advancing in midfield with the ball at feet.

73: Substitutes for both sides now - as Iniesta is replaced by Sergi Roberto for the hosts. A double alteration for Wenger's men, with Welbeck and Iwobi being replaced by Walcott and Giroud. Last chance saloon?

68: OFF THE CROSSBAR! CLOSE FOR ARSENAL! This game is really end-to-end now, with Iwobi finding Welbeck in space ahead of him, but the Englishman sees his effort bounce off the crossbar..

Game over now, isn't it? A fantastic volley from Suárez, following Dani Alves' cross toward the back post - leaves Ospina rooted to the spot as it arrows into the top corner.


58: Important challenge, from Mascherano! He makes a crucial last-ditch sliding block to deny Welbeck from getting a shot away after a poor header backward by Jeremy Mathieu.

SAVE! Ospina forced into another smart save to deny Messi from the far corner - still 1-1, despite Barca looking intent in the final third. 

Elneny equalises with a super finish | Photo: SkySports
Elneny equalises with a super finish on the edge of the area | Photo: SkySports

Game on? Elneny with a superb finish, following a cutback from Alexis to the Egyptian on the edge of the area. No hesitation, he thumps the ball into the top corner, leaving ter Stegen with absolutely no chance. 1-1, can Arsenal utilise this burst of momentum?


50: Iwobi comes narrowly close to testing ter Stegen! But his effort deflects into the side netting, just moments before Sánchez is booked for a cynical foul to stop Neymar advancing into the visitors' half.

45: Second-half has begun! Can Arsenal manage a miraculous comeback, or will Barça seal their place in the last-eight? 

Neymar wheels away to celebrate his opener alongside Messi | Photo: SkySports
Neymar wheels away to celebrate his opener alongside Messi | Photo: SkySports

HT: No changes at the break, neither side particularly want to upset the balance - could be an intriguing finish if Arsenal manage to finish one of their opportunities.

A momentarily lapse in concentration, and Neymar punished the Gunners backline almost instantaneously. It's been 'that kind of game' for Arsenal, especially considering they've created a number of chances but failed to convert.

45+1: HALF-TIME! Barcelona (3) 1-0 (0) Arsenal. 

45: The fourth official signals for just one minute of stoppage time to be played, and in the meantime Flamini (injury) has been swiftly replaced by Francis Coquelin - who many supporters were surprised to see only on the substitutes' bench ahead of kick-off.

40: A great ball fizzed into the area by Bellerín with Alexis lurking dangerously... but his headed effort flashes wide of ter Stegen's far post.

35: PENALTY DECISION - WAVED AWAY! Iwobi goes down after a challenge by Mascherano... clipped the back of his heels, but the referee waves play on - much to the discontent of the visitors who feel aggrieved.

30: SAVE! Ospina gets down low and quickly too, saving Neymar's effort after Alba breaks away on the left-hand side and fed a ball across into the Brazilian's path.

25: Good defending by Gabriel! He ensures Neymar's advances, near the edge of the box, are thwarted - Barca are looking ever dangerous on the break.

It's a poor goal to concede from Arsenal's perspective for sure, especially considering the deficit.... A mistake in possession, a quick passing exchange sends Neymar through in space to strike - low and hard to Ospina's right. 26th goal of the season in all competitions for the 24-year-old Brazilian, the youngest of the MSN trio.


16: Great touch, important save by Ospina! Neymar lifts the ball over-the-top of the Gunners defence, Messi with a wonderful first touch before Ospina denies the Argentine from opening the scoring with an excellent reactive stop.

12: The attacking intensity has certainly risen in the last few minutes, with both fullbacks looking to drive forward quickly. Iwobi wins a foul in the Arsenal half, giving the visitors some much-needed recovery time.

9: Close! Iniesta's poor pass is picked apart - and Mesut Özil comes narrowly close to breaking the deadlock on the counter-attack! Attempting to find Welbeck with a pass, the Englishman slipped on the edge of the area, so the silky German attempted to bend a curling effort goalwards - flashing narrowly wide of ter Stegen's far post.

7: Steady start for both sides, neither really in much control - Arsenal have kept their shape well as they look to avoid giving the hosts time and space on the ball in their own half. Messi and Alexis have looked eager to create something on-the-ball for their respective sides, nothing much of note yet though.

Barcelona - Arsenal, and it's live! Champions League last-16 second leg action on VAVEL - stay tuned for regular live updates!

The two teams have completed their respective warm-ups, are out of the tunnel and ready for kick-off!

Per Mertesacker, Francis Coquelin and Theo Walcott amongst a very strong Gunners substitutes' bench - Danny Welbeck leads the line whilst 19-year-old Alex Iwobi makes his first Champions League start in arguably his biggest game of the season.

Barcelona's fearsome attacking trio | Photo: Arsenal's official website - LIVE player
Barcelona's fearsome attacking trio | Photo: Arsenal's official website - LIVE player

Opta stat: Alexis Sánchez has been directly involved in 58 per cent of Arsenal's Champions League goals this season, scoring three times and delivering four assists.

Arsenal: Ospina; Bellerín, Koscielny, Gabriel, Monreal; Elneny, Flamini; Iwobi, Sánchez, Ozil; Welbeck. Subs: Macey; Mertesacker, Gibbs; Coquelin, Campbell, Walcott; Giroud.

Barcelona: ter Stegen; Alves, Mascherano, Mathieu, Alba; Busquets, Rakitic, Iniesta; Neymar, Suárez and Messi. Subs: Bravo; Vermaelen, Bartra; Sergi Roberto, Aleix Vidal, Turan; Munir.

Confirmed team news, is as follows!

In-case you haven't read it already, a double piece from the visitors' club section here on VAVEL: Arséne Wenger's pre-match comments, and the Barça-Arsenal match preview - both by myself!

A picturesque view of surroundings at the Nou Camp earlier | Photo: James Marsh/BPI/REX/Shutterstock
A picturesque view of surroundings at the Nou Camp earlier this evening | Photo: James Marsh/BPI/REX/Shutterstock

Score predictions for tonight's clash? Arsenal will be classed as the ultimate underdogs, but could they take Barça all the way and surprise their doubters in Spain?

Today's visitors will definitely be boosted by the return of centre-back Laurent Koscielny, with the talented Frenchman being pictured in training yesterday - having sustained a troublesome calf injury a few weeks back.  

Arsenal definitely have a tough task on their hands as they aim to progress into the competition's last-eight for the first time since the 2009/10 campaign, where they've come unstuck multiple times in the last-16 in recent seasons. 

Barça have a firm grip of control on tonight's tie - having scored two unanswered goals at the Emirates in the previous meeting between these two sides. A well-taken Lionel Messi brace helped give the Catalans a much-needed aggregate lead to take home to Spain, with all of Arsenal's hard work over the course of the match being undone by some defensive lapses and a fatal error from substitute Mathieu Flamini

Hello everyone, and welcome to VAVEL UK's live coverage of tonight's UEFA Champions League last-16 second leg clash between the competition's reigning champions Barcelona and Premier League giants Arsenal.