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Arsenal boss Wenger rues missed chances as Barcelona's Holy Trinity show their class in Champions League

By Mark Bryans

Arsenal could not make the impossible possible as Barcelona's renowned triumvirate all scored to knock the Gunners out of the Champions League at the Nou Camp.

Many did not give Arsene Wenger's men a prayer given Barcelona's 37-game unbeaten run heading into a contest in which the Gunners needed to score three times to go through.

They put up a spirited fight against a home side who, in truth, played the game largely in second-gear and secured a 3-1 win courtesy of goals from their Holy Trinity, Neymar, Lionel Messi and a sublime Luis Suarez volley - taking the trio's combined goal tally to 106 for the season - with Mohamed Elneny getting Arsenal on the scoresheet.

Wenger had conceded his side needed to achieve the impossible to advance past the round of 16 stage for the first time since 2010 but, despite a brave effort, it was not to be.

Thee Gunners boss admitted his side had not made the most of their chances over both legs.

"In the two games, if you look at the dangerous situations we created we have done that many times," he said.

"I know it is difficult to take, to go out, but I believe that we produced a quality performance against maybe the best team in Europe at the moment.

"Well done to them and we wish them well.

"I think the performance was first of all good but it was a great game between two good teams."

Wenger also paid tribute to the attacking qualities of Barcelona.

He added: "We went out with regrets of course but I must say they have exceptional quality up front and you feel any little mistake you make at the back they can take advantage of it."

The Arsenal manager also felt that if his side had gone ahead in the match things could have turned out differently.

"It was a turning point at 1-1, I believe I could feel they were wobbling a little bit, they were insecure," he said.

"Had we scored the second goal I think we could have created a sensation tonight, but we didn't and any one of the (Barcelona) three up front can score an exceptional goal."

Danny Welbeck admitted it had been a difficult night for the Gunners.

He said: "It was difficult to come here but we had a plan to try and get through to the next round. It was a difficult night for us."

The former Manchester United striker felt Arsenal should have made more of their early opportunities in the game.

"We had a couple of opportunities where maybe we should have done better," he added.

"With the quality that they've got, once they get the opportunities they are very clinical. I think there is a lot to be learned.

"To come here and play in the Nou Camp is a great opportunity but it's somewhere you really want to leave your mark.

"We would have liked to have done better. It's disappointing to go out like that."

Young striker Alex Iwobi said he was living the dream facing Barcelona.

"It's something a 19-year-old will always dream of doing playing against the best players in the world, the best team in the world," he said.

"It's an amazing experience and hopefully I can have more of these chances in the future."

The victory stretches Barcelona's unbeaten run to 38 games in all competitions as they aim to become the first team to retain the European Cup in the Champions League era.

No side has won back-to-back European Cups since AC Milan in 1989 and 1990.

barcelona3

arsenal1

barcelona won 5-1 on agg

BARCELONA: Ter Stegen, Alves, Mascherano, Mathieu, Alba, Rakitic (Turan 77), Busquets, Iniesta (Sergi 72), Messi, Suarez, Neymar.

Goals: Neymar 18, Suarez 65, Messi 88

Subs not used: Bravo, Bartra, El Haddadi, Vidal Parreu, Vermaelen.

ARSENAL: Ospina, Bellerín, Gabriel, Koscielny, Monreal, Elneny, Flamini (Coquelin 45), Sanchez, Ozil, Iwobi (Giroud 72), Welbeck (Walcott 73).

Goal: Elneny 51. Subs not used: Gibbs, Mertesacker, Campbell, Macey.

Man of the match: Messi

Match rating: 8/10 Ref: Sergey Karasev

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