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Champions League: Arsenal out, Benfica in


Champions League: Arsenal out, Benfica in


Arsenal are out of the Champions League despite beating AC Milan 3-nil in the last-16 second leg match in north London.

Goals from Laurent Koscielny, Tomas Rosicky and Robin van Persie weren’t enough – the aggregate score 4-3 to the Milanese.

In Lisbon, Benfica put two past Zenit St Petersburg, the first from Maxi Pereira in first half extra time and the second from Nelson Oliveira in stoppage time after 90 minutes.

It overturned Benfica’s first leg defeat. They go through 4-3 on aggregate.

Barcelona go into their second leg last-16 Champions League match at the Nou Camp far and away favourites against Bayer Leverkusen.

Barca are sitting on a lead of three away goals to Bayer’s one, and are riding high in the competition, unbeaten in 13 home Champions League games since October 2009.

But the Catalans’ coach is still wary of the Germans.

Pep Guardiola said: “As a player and as a coach, I experienced that it looks like they’re not there, they are not there, they are not there, and then suddenly they attack and create goal chances.”

Leverkusen know that they are facing an uphill task, but forward Stefan Kiessling does not see it as mission completely impossible.

He said they will be cheeky and avoid showing too much respect, and he has not given up hope of pulling off what would be a stunning upset.

The surprise of the group stage – APOEL Nicosia – hope to extend their Champions League dream by overturning their 1-nil first round defeat by Olympique Lyon.

The side contains many Brazilian and Portuguese players and they are hoping to cause a sporting stir rarely seen in Cyprus.

Lyon made heavy work of that first-leg win, and they go into this one on the back foot, having lost three of their last four Ligue 1 games.

OL will be without their injured playmaker Yoann Gourcuff, but the Croat centre-back Dejan Lovren is expected to make a return at some point in the match.

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