Quarter-final hopes fade for Arsenal after loss

Monaco's Dimitar Berbatov.
Monaco's Dimitar Berbatov.
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Dimitar Berbatov believes Monaco “wanted it more” after they defeated Arsenal 3-1 at the Emirates in the first leg of their Champions League last 16 tie.

A 25-yard deflected effort from Geoffrey Kondogbia put Monaco ahead on 38 minutes, and after Gunners striker Olivier Giroud had spurned another two great chances to get his side level, Berbatov crashed in a second on the break.

Substitute Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, returning from a groin injury, grabbed Arsenal a lifeline in stoppage-time only for Yannick Carrasco to slot home a third away goal on the break which leaves Arsenal facing exit from Europe before the quarter-finals once again.

When asked if he expected the final scoreline, former Tottenham striker Berbatov said: “No-one expects that probably but we were confident in our abilities and we deserved to win. We took our chances. It’s not over. We will think about the next game when it comes

“We are good, a good team and we wanted to win more than them and were fighting all over the pitch and we scored more goals.”

Despite the convincing scoreline, Berbatov does not believe the tie is dead ahead of the return leg at Monaco’s Stade Louis II.

“I don’t think like this because Arsenal have such great players,” the 34-year-old added.

“One more game and anything can happen but we have two more goals.”

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, who managed Ligue 1 side Monaco and led them to a league and Coupe de France title, admitted the task facing his side is now “massive” if they are to progress further.

“It was a horrible night as you said but congratulations to Monaco,” admitted Wenger.

“They defended very well and caught us on the break. We had the chances we didn’t take and were the worst side defensively.

“The task is massive now and the third goal makes it more difficult.”

Atletico Madrid have a mountain to climb if they are to qualify for the quarter-finals after losing at Bayer Leverkusen.

Having made last year’s final, Atletico were big favourites against the out-of-form Leverkusen, but they lost 1-0 after a stunning strike from Hakan Calhanoglu.