Manchester City and Arsenal followed Chelsea through the exit door at the last 16 stage of this year’s Champions League.
Both sides had left themselves a mountain to climb after disastrous home defeats but could only salvage some pride in battling second-leg performances. For Arsenal, it was the fifth season running that Arsene Wenger’s side has failed to reach the quarter-finals but they did not go down without a fight.
Costly defensive lapses at the Emirates Stadium had left them needing a 3-0 win in Monaco. They put up probably their best display of the season to record a 2-0 victory but could not quite force the vital goal against a Monaco team that had been on the ropes throughout. Olivier Giroud fired the Gunners into a first half lead with Aaron Ramsey scoring a second eleven minutes from time. A close-range header from Sanchez was desperately clawed away by Monaco ‘Keeper Subasic in the final minutes as the home side went through on away goals.
Premiership champions Manchester City travelled to Barcelona trailing 2-1 but never looked like getting back into the tie. Ivan Rakitic gave the Spaniards further breathing space after 31 minutes and the rest of the evening was largely a barrage on the City goal. Fortunately for them, England’s Joe Hart was on top form and produced a series of saves to keep the score respectable.
City were offered a glimmer of hope when Aguero was awarded a penalty kick, only for the Argentine to see his tame shot saved by Marc-Andre ter-Stegen. Messi, Neymar and Suarez all had chances to double Barcelona’s lead but were denied by a combination of Hart and the woodwork.
Atletico Madrid needed a penalty shoot-out to get past Bayer Leverkusen after the tie had finished 1-1 on aggregate. A goal by Mario Suarez in the first half separated the sides on the night but the tie was not settled until Stefan Kiessling missed his penalty at 2-3 to send the home fans wild.
The final last eight place was taken by Juventus who routed Borussia Dortmund 3-0 on the night and 5-1 on aggregate. Two goals from Carlos Tevez helped the Italian giants on their way to a quarter-final clash with rank outsiders Monaco.
The draw has delivered a repeat of last year’s final with Real Madrid facing local rivals Atletico. Barcelona will face Chelsea’s conquerors PSG while favourites Bayern Munich will play Porto. The ties will take place on April 14th and 15th and April 21st and 22nd.