Barcelona and Bayern Munich advance to the quarterfinals of the Champions League. The Spanish champions disposing of Arsenal, and the German champions coming from two goals down to beat Juventus.
The two favourites for the Champions League title have made it through to the quarterfinals after an exciting night of football in Spain and Germany.
Barcelona remains favourites to become the first team ever to retain the Champions League trophy after disposing of Arsenal at the Nou Camp. It was a bold, brave and brash performance from Arsene Wenger’s men, but at the end of the day, they just weren’t good enough over the two legs.
It’s the sixth season in a row that Arsenal has gone out of the competition in the Round of 16. It was a decade ago that Barcelona followed that particular route out of the contest.
Arsenal came out of the traps like a greyhound hellbent on devouring the rabbit. You wonder why they didn’t play with this kind of intensity in the first leg? Barcelona like to play the ball around the back line with Marc-Andre ter Stegen holding the baton. But they make mistakes. They give you chances. With Arsenal pressing high up the pitch they had plenty.
Mesut Ozil apart, the Arsenal midfield looked as dynamic as I have ever seen it with sterling performances from Mohamed Elneny and Alex Iwobi, at both ends of the pitch. In the end, the difference between the two teams was the clinical nature of the front line. Alexis Sanchez and Danny Welbeck kept missing; Neymar Jr, Luis Suarez and Messi didn’t.
It was Neymar Jr who opened the scoring in the 18th minute after poor Arsenal defending allowed Luis Suarez to break free to set up the Brazilian captain who calmly slotted the ball past the onrushing David Ospina.
Arsenal was level six minutes after the restart after a fine finish from the excellent Elneny, but a world class flying volley by Suarez stunted any growth that Arsenal may have threatened. Lionel Messi scored his 31st goal in his last 25 games to put the tie to bed with two minutes remaining.
Bayern Come From Behind to Beat Juventus
The Barcelona players must have been smiling from ear to ear when they walked into the changing rooms at half-time to hear that Juventus had taken a shock two goal lead away at Bayern Munich.
Last season’s losing finalists took a 4-2 aggregate lead into the second half after goals from Paul Pogba and Juan Cuadrado shook the Bayern machine to its very core.
Robert Lewandowski created nail biting time when he pulled one back in the 73rd minute, and Thomas Muller headed an injury-time equaliser to take the game into extra time.
The final 30-minutes belonged to one team and one team only. Firstly, substitute Thiago played a neat one-two with Muller before slotting the ball past Gianluigi Buffon, and then an excellent solo goal by Kingsley Coman made sure Barcelona still have a solid contender as they went through 6-4 on aggregate.
The draw for the quarterfinals takes place on Friday.
Barcelona 3 v 1 Arsenal (5 v 1 agg)
Bayern Munich 4 v 2 Juventus (aet) (6-4 agg)
Champions League Winner (Odds Courtesy of Bodog)
Bayern Munich +275
Real Madrid +600
Paris St. Germain +700
Atletico Madrid +1200
Man City +1400