Barcelona's Lionel Messi: Arsenal Champions League tie not over yet
Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi said he was happy with a good result while claiming the tie was not yet over after his double strike brought a 2-0 Champions League last-16 first leg win at Arsenal on Tuesday night.
Barca dominated possession for long spells but the game at the Emirates Stadium was still scoreless deep in the second half when Arsenal were caught on the break as Luis Suarez and Neymar combined to help Messi opening the scoring on 71 minutes.
The Argentine then made it 2-0 late on from the penalty spot after he was fouled by Mathieu Flamini in the midfielder's first contribution after entering as a substitute.
Messi told Catalan TV3 after the final whistle that he was delighted with how the 90 minutes had gone, but the job needed to be finished in the second leg at the Camp Nou on Wednesday Feb. 16.
"We played a great game, got a good result, against a really good team with really good players," Messi said. "I am very happy for how we did our work in each moment.
"Arsenal are capable of everything. We played a great game, but we know the tie is not over yet. Two goals away from home is very important, but it is not over yet. We will go out to win the return."
Messi said the work he and his teammates had done in exhausting Arsenal before the break by moving the ball around had led to more spaces for them to take advantage of after half-time.
"The first half they did very well, they are physically very strong," he said. "We knew they could not keep that up in the second half, as it's very difficult. We found more spaces, on the counter-attack, and that's where the first goal came from."
Messi, Neymar and Suarez have all missed penalties earlier in the season, and the Blaugrana talisman admitted he had been happy to see his spot-kick beat Arsenal keeper Peter Cech.
"Fortunately I scored the penalty," he said. "We have missed some, but the goalkeepers have studied us very well. It gets more difficult all the time. But thankfully I was able to do it."