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Barcelona complete last-16 triumph over Arsenal

Barcelona 3-1 Arsenal (agg: 5-1)
Neymar, Luis Suárez and Lionel Messi were all on target as the holders reached the last eight for the ninth season running.

Watch Messi, Suárez and Neymar put Barcelona through
Watch Messi, Suárez and Neymar put Barcelona through

It was a familiar story at the Camp Nou as Barcelona eased through to a ninth successive UEFA Champions League quarter-final and Arsenal, impressive at times, bowed out in the last 16 yet again.

Neymar's early goal all but ended the tie as a contest, and though Mohamed Elneny's fabulous strike earned Arsenal parity of the night, Barcelona had the last word. First Luis Suárez made it 2-1 in outrageous fashion before Lionel Messi chipped in to complete a 5-1 aggregate win.

Wenger: Messi, Suárez and Neymar 'the best I've seen'
Wenger: Messi, Suárez and Neymar 'the best I've seen'

Overcoming a 2-0 deficit at the Camp Nou was always a daunting prospect, but Neymar's 18th-minute opener effectively killed the tie off. Laurent Koscielny was at fault, caught in possession as he tried to dribble out of defence. Barcelona were on it in a flash. Suárez collected the ball and found Neymar with time and space to fire in.

For a spell the fight left Arsenal, who had begun brightly even if they were indebted to a fantastic stop from David Ospina to deny Messi just before the opener. Barcelona attacked with trademark alacrity, but as the half wore on and with Alex Iwobi – on his first start in the competition – lively there were chances at the other end too.

Mohamed Elneny (No35) fires in
Mohamed Elneny (No35) fires in©Getty Images

Six minutes after the restart Elneny curled in a superb effort and the flames of hope flickered, only for Suárez to douse them with an acrobatic goal that came off his shin and flew into the top corner. Danny Welbeck hit the bar, while Marc-André ter Stegen kept out Alexis Sánchez and Olivier Giroud, but the game was up, Messi making doubly sure. Barcelona march on.

Analysis from Graham Hunter at the Camp Nou

Key man: Luis Suárez
There were candidates. A host of them. Bronze probably goes to Ospina, whose save from Messi in the first half was as good as you will see this season. Perhaps a tie between Neymar and Alexis for silver. But Suárez is at the top of the podium. Besides his usual tireless work there was a first-class assist for Neymar and then, as Arsenal threatened, a Herculean mid-air volley.

The usual suspects after Messi's strike
The usual suspects after Messi's strike©AFP/Getty Images

Tactical template
Long before the result was settled Arsène Wenger's side provided a tactical template for how teams – at least the elite clubs remaining in this competition – could test the reigning champions. They pressed high and kept a quick tempo, hustling and hassling without the ball and always quick to pass and move with it. Given their injuries, there were positives for Arsenal – and maybe others.

Barcelona's competitive spirit
Before last season's final, Luis Enrique told me that he felt the most important part of what would be a trophy treble had been the competitive atmosphere every day in training. At the weekend he said, "It doesn't matter who I turn to in my group, whoever plays is competitive." Exhibit 1: Jérémy Mathieu. In for the suspended Gerard Piqué, he played with calm authority and made two goal-saving blocks.

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