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Formidable Barcelona beat Arsenal 3-1 to reach Champions League quarters

Reuters , Wednesday 16 Mar 2016
Barcelona
Barcelona's Lionel Messi, center, celebrates after scoring his side's third goal during the Champions League round of 16 second leg soccer match between FC Barcelona and Arsenal FC at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, Spain, Wednesday, March 16, 2016 (AP)
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Barcelona's dynamic attacking trio of Neymar, Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi were all on target in a 3-1 victory over Arsenal on Wednesday that sent the Spanish side into the Champions League quarter-finals 5-1 on aggregate.

Neymar opened the scoring in the first half before Arsenal's Mohamed Elneny curled in an excellent finish to level the scores.

Suarez, however, launched himself into the air to meet a Dani Alves cross and send a superb volley into the top corner after 65 minutes to suppress a second-half revival by the English side, who have now exited in the last 16 for six successive seasons.

Messi rounded off the scoring with a trademark chipped finish two minutes from time as the hosts extended their unbeaten run to 38 matches in all competitions.

The defeat will increase the pressure on Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, whose side are 11 points adrift of leaders Leicester City in the Premier League and exited the FA Cup last weekend.

Barcelona served notice of their intent when Arsenal keeper David Ospina was forced into a superb save to deny Messi, but the reprieve lasted just two minutes as the hosts took the lead through Neymar's side-footed finish.

Arsenal had lost the ball playing out from the back, before Suarez fed Neymar to slide the ball past Ospina.

Alexis Sanchez fluffed the visitors' best chance before the break when he headed wide, but Arsenal continued to press and levelled six minutes into the second half when Elneny bent a sweet finish into the top corner from 20 metres.

Just when it looked like Arsenal might spring a surprise, however, Suarez's acrobatics finished the tie before Messi burst into the box and lifted the ball calmly into the net.

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