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The better side went through, says Arsenal's Per Mertesacker

Monaco 0-2 Arsenal

By Jim Van Wijk

Arsenal captain Per Mertesacker admitted that his side did not deserve to go through to the quarter-finals of the Champions League after exiting on away goals at the hands of Monaco.

Arsenal battled to a 2-0 win at Monaco but having lost 3-1 in the first leg, it simply wasn't enough to progress.

Olivier Giroud's first-half effort and Aaron Ramsey's goal after 79 minutes set up a grandstand finale, but the valiant Gunners just fell short.

Mertesacker said: "The best team went through. Monaco deserved it because they played much better in the first leg. We played well here but it was a massive deficit, and it wasn't enough.

"We came here and tried absolutely everything, and when you look at the game we could have scored more than two.

"Monaco deserve it and that's absolutely fine. They caused a lot of problems away from home. We have to admit that we regret the first game.

"But if we continue to play like that we'll do well in the FA Cup and the league. But play as badly as we did in the first game and you're out of the Champions League. Monaco deserved it."

After a slow start, Giroud headed a half-chance wide after 13 minutes. Arsenal were lacking a spark as Monaco happily took the tempo out of the match.

Giroud, who had missed several chances in the first leg, grabbed a lifeline for the visitors with a well-taken finish nine minutes before half time.

After left-back Nacho Monreal had done well to keep the ball in on the far side, Danny Welbeck darted into the penalty area.

The loose ball fell for Giroud, and his shot was saved but cannoned up against his face, with the French striker alert to sweep in the rebound.

Monaco continued to ride their luck as Arsenal pressed, with Mesut Ozil's free-kick tipped over at the start of the second half.

The game then opened up as Arsenal committed men forwards, and finally reduced the arrears further through substitute Ramsey after 79 minutes.

Layvin Kurzawa should have cleared after Welbeck hit the post but stabbed the ball to Ramsey, who cracked it into the net.

There was, though, to be no miracle of Monte Carlo as Monaco goalkeeper Danijel Subasic denied a late header from Sanchez to end Arsenal's European dreams at the last-16 stage once again -and leave Arsene Wenger's men counting the cost of conceding a stoppage-time third goal at the Emirates.

Monaco: Subasic, Tavares, Fortuna dos Santos, Abdennour, Kurzawa, Dirar (Echiéjilé 86), Toulalan, Kondogbia, Martial (Ferreira-Carrasco 60), João Moutinho, Berbatov (Silva 70). Subs not used: Carvalho, De Carvalho, Stekelenburg, Touré.

Arsenal: Ospina, Bellerin, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal (Gibbs 83), Coquelin (Ramsey 63), Cazorla, Sánchez, Özil, Welbeck (Walcott 72), Giroud. Subs not used: Szczesny, Gabriel, Flamini, Chambers. Subs not used: Szczesny, Gabriel, Flamini, Chambers.

Goals: Giroud 36, Ramsey 79

Man of the match: Ozil

Match rating: 7/10

Referee: Svein Oddvar Moen (Norway)

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