A weakened Arsenal side nearly held their own at the Camp Nou, but were eventually outdone by Barcelona, who progressed to the UEFA Champions League quarter finals following their 5-1 aggregate defeat.
The holders and five-time winners of the competition progressed to the last eight for the ninth year in a row, whilst the Gunners were dumped out at the last-16 stage for the sixth successive season after Wednesday night’s 3-1 defeat in Spain.
Despite Barca’s dominance over the two legs, it was Mesut Ozil who had the first chance on the night. The German dispossessed Andres Iniesta, but his shot from distance went wide of goalkeeper Marc Andre Ter Stegen’s goal.
Arsenal caved after just 18 minutes though, with Neymar bagging the first of Barcelona’s strikes on the night. Luis Suarez spotted a hole in the Gunners’ backline, and was able to play through his Brazilian strike partner, who beat David Ospina at his near post.
Arsene Wenger’s side made it into half-time otherwise unscathed, and fresh from the interval, they managed to find an equaliser through Mohamed Elneny. The Egyptian, who signed from Basel in January, unleashed a thunderous effort right into the top corner, with Ter Stegen helpless to stop it.
Little over ten minutes later however, and Los Cules were back in front. Dani Alves wasn’t closed down on the right wing, and his cross was inch perfect for Suarez, who acrobatically volleyed it past Ospina.
With minutes remaining, Lionel Messi wrapped up the win in style. The Ballon D’Or holder picked up a loose ball and neatly chipped it into the net, a sight that’s become somewhat of a trademark in this fixture.
Meanwhile in the final quarter-final clash; Bayern Munich and Juventus played out a scintillating match at the Allianz Arena, with the German champions eventually triumphing 6-4 on aggregate after extra-time.
It wasn’t an easy ride for Pep Guardiola’s side though, as they had to come back from 2-0 down to add another 30 minutes to the tie.
Juventus took a shock lead just five minutes in, as Sami Khedira’s ball over the top caused a mix-up between David Alaba and Manuel Neuer, allowing Paul Pogba to guide the ball into an empty net.
Just before the half hour mark, Juventus made it 0-2. Alaba gave away possession high up the field, and Alvaro Morata sprinted 50 yards to lay it off for Juan Cuadrado, who beat Neuer at the near post.
The Bavarian crowd was incensed, but it wasn’t until the 73rd minute when Bayern finally clawed one back. Douglas Costa’s pinpoint cross found the head of Robert Lewandowski, who beat Gianluigi Buffon.
Bayern got their equaliser in stoppage time; this time Kinglsey Coman’s whipped ball was headed home by Thomas Muller.
Both sides headed into extra time running on empty, but it was the hosts who took advantage. Thiago slotted home shortly after half-time after some nice link-up play with Muller, and Coman scored a stunning solo goal against his parent club to seal a 4-2 win.
Bayern and Barcelona now head into Friday’s last-eight draw.