Arsenal bowed out of the Champions League with their pride unharmed as controversial events helped Barcelona to a 3-1 win at the Camp Nou to overturn the Gunners’ 2-1 lead from the first leg.
A Fabregas blunder allowed Messi to hand the hosts a 1-0 lead on the stroke of half-time but Arsenal leveled against the odds through Sergio Busquets’ own goal to set up an intriguing finale which went Barcelona’s way – through a Xavi strike and Messi penalty kick – after Robin van Perise was harshly sent off.
Wenger’s men have exited the Champions League at the hands of Barcelona for another year, but much different to almost twelve months ago, they had hardly been battered. Indeed, the only battering they received was from lady luck.
Despite Barcelona’s inevitable dominance in the tie, – which sees them deservedly through perhaps – it finished 4-3 on aggregate, much tighter than anticipated, and in the end, matters were decided largely by the might of the referee than the might of Guardiola’s men.