Lionel Messi set a new Champions League record for most goals scored against a single opponent as Barcelona cruised into the last eight with a routine 3-1 win over Arsenal at the Nou Camp.
The Argentine maestro put the seal on a 5-1 success on aggregate with a late strike that saw him take his tally versus the Gunners to nine in six matches as the Catalans’ famous triumvirate all got on the scoresheet.
Luis Suarez set up Neymar for the opener before restoring the hosts’ lead with a shinned volley into the top corner after Mohamed Elneny had given the visitors a glimmer of hope with a stunning equaliser.
In truth, Luis Enrique’s side played with the handbrake on for long spells but easily extended their unbeaten run to 38 matches in all competitions against an Arsenal side who at least put up a fight in Catalonia.
The Gunners gave a first Champions League start to Alex Iwobi and he saw a penalty appeal waved away after a challenge from Javier Mascherano while Alexis Sanchez headed a gilt-edged opportunity wide on a disappointing return to his old club.
Arsene Wenger’s side were always up against it but showed enough spirit to suggest they can come through a poor run of form that has seen his reign at the club come under greater scrutiny than ever before.
Barcelona remain the team to avoid in Friday’s draw for the last eight while Arsenal will now turn their attention to Saturday’s must-win clash at Everton as they bid to salvage their season following a run of one win in eight that has left them with just the Premier League to fight for.