CL: We knew Arsenal would struggle in second half, says Messi
London: Barcelona striker Lionel Messi said the Spanish giants knew Arsenal would eventually fail to cope with the pressure of their attack in the Champions League pre-quarter-final first leg tie at the Emirates Stadium on Tuesday.
Shooting star: Barcelona’s Argentine striker Lionel Messi (third from left) shoots past Arsenal’s French defender Laurent Koscielny (second from left) during their UEFA Champions League pre-quarter-final first leg match at the Emirates Stadium in London on Tuesday. Messi scored both goals as Barcelona won 2-0. Pic/AFP
The La Liga leaders were held 0-0 until the second period before Messi struck the game’s opener with 71 minutes on the clock. He then doubled his tally just 12 minutes later to put Barca in control of the tie. The 28-year-old later revealed his teammates knew their Premier League opponents would struggle to keep a clean sheet following the half-time interval.
Messi told TV3: "We played excellently against a fantastic team. I’m delighted with the way we played throughout the game.
"They (Arsenal) worked really hard for each other during the first half but we knew they wouldn’t be able to cope with the pressure after the break.
"We started to find space and were able to open the scoring. Arsenal are capable of anything. We leave here with a great result, but the idea had always been to go out and win."
Messi’s midweek brace took his Champions League tally to 82 goals, yet it was the first time he had netted past Arsenal goalkeeper Petr Cech in six attempts.
"Fortunately I was able to stick the penalty away this time," Messi said when asked about scoring his second from the penalty spot.
"We’ve missed a few this season, but that’s because goalkeepers are doing their homework on us."