Thu, Mar 19, 2015 - Page 20 News List

Arsenal win, but bow out, Atletico hold nerve

AFP, PARIS

AS Monaco defender Wallace, right, watches the ball shot by Arsenal’s Olivier Giroud go into his team’s net during their Champions League match on Tuesday in Monaco.

Photo: AFP

Arsenal exited the Champions League on Tuesday, despite winning their Champions League last 16 second leg clash 2-0 in Monaco, as they lost on the away goals rule after the tie finished 3-3 on aggregate.

A first-half goal by Olivier Giroud and then Aaron Ramsey 11 minutes from time gave the Gunners hope, but desperate defending by AS Monaco saw them hold on to reach the quarter-finals in front of a for-once packed stadium, which included celebrities such as U2 frontman Bono.

The other game went right down to the wire, but saw last season’s finalists Atletico Madrid scrape through 3-2 on penalties over German side Bayer 04 Leverkusen — Stefan Kiessling missing the penalty to settle the encounter.

The match had finished 1-1 on aggregate after Mario Suarez’ deflected first-half effort sufficed to give them a 1-0 win in the game itself.

Monaco emulated fellow Ligue 1 side Paris Saint-Germain in eliminating a Premier League giant from this season’s competition as PSG knocked out Chelsea, also on away goals, last week.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger was gracious in defeat, which ended for another season his ambition of winning the piece of silverware he most desires.

“We knew it would be very difficult to score that many goals,” Wenger said. “We weren’t realistic enough in our approach. It’s not a question of if we deserved to go through, but of being realistic, and we made too many errors in the first leg.

“At the end of the day, we paid for our performance in the first leg,” he said. “Monaco were playing at home, but didn’t have a shot on goal. We were very close, but they surprised us in the first match because subconsciously, we were too sure of ourselves.”

“We have to congratulate Monaco for their place in the last eight as they defended really well,” he said. “In the last three months, we haven’t lacked in anything except our performance in the first leg.”

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