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Despite a spirited showing, Arsenal fall short in quest to reach quarter-finals

The Gunners beat Monaco 2-0 but it wasn’t enough to prevent elimination on away goals.

Image: Mike Egerton/EMPICS Sport

MONACO SURVIVED A real scare before reaching the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals as a 2-0 defeat at home to Arsenal saw them advance on away goals.

Leonardo Jardim’s side had done most of the hard work in this last-16 tie in the away leg three weeks ago, leaving the Emirates Stadium with a 3-1 victory.

But they were pressed back for much of the encounter at Stade Louis II, and fell behind in the first half when Olivier Giroud swept home to give Arsenal hope.

Substitute Aaron Ramsey fired in a second with a little over 10 minutes remaining, but ultimately it was not enough for Arsene Wenger’s men.

It was a familiar story for Arsenal, who have bowed out at this stage in gallant fashion against Milan and Bayern Munich in recent years.

Wenger’s side have now exited the competition at the first knockout round in each of the last five seasons while Monaco progressed to the last eight for the first time since 2004, when they went on to reach the final.

Monaco’s ultimately successful plan to soak up wave after wave of Arsenal pressure became immediately evident, and the visitors’ first chance came as Giroud headed Hector Bellerin’s right-wing cross wide of goal.

As Arsenal continued to press forward, Laurent Koscielny struck the crossbar from close range as Monaco failed to deal with a free-kick, but the linesman’s flag was raised for offside in any event.

Giroud broke the deadlock nine minutes before the interval, smashing the ball into the roof of the net at the second attempt after his initial effort was smothered by Danijel Subasic.

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Monaco Soccer Champions League Despite getting on the score-sheet, it was a night of frustration for Olivier Giroud and his Arsenal team-mates. Source: Lionel Cironneau/AP/Press Association Images

Arsenal almost had a second two minutes later, but Danny Welbeck’s goalbound shot struck a prone Aymen Abdennour and squirmed wide of the right-hand post, before Alexis Sanchez tripped himself up in the penalty area, resulting in a harsh booking for diving.

In first-half stoppage time, Giroud and then Welbeck both threatened to double the visitors’ lead as Arsenal went into the break in the ascendancy.

Arsenal continued to look the more threatening after the interval and Mesut Ozil saw a free-kick tipped over by Subasic, before fizzing a half-volley wide from just inside the area.

Arsenal felt they should have had an indirect free-kick when Subasic handled Fabinho’s backpass, but the referee deemed the defender’s intervention to have been unintentional.

With 11 minutes remaining, Ramsey gave Arsenal further hope with a fine right-footed finish.

Monaco Soccer Champions League Santi Cazorla reacts to Aaron Ramsey's goal - but Arsenal failed to find a third that would've won them the tie. Source: Christophe Ena/AP/Press Association Images

Fellow substitute Theo Walcott saw his initial shot come back off the post and when Layvin Kurzawa’s poor clearance fell straight to Ramsey, the Welshman rifled a shot low into the bottom left corner.

As Monaco wobbled, Subasic produced a fine save to claw out Sanchez’s header at the far post, his crucial intervention sending the hosts through despite a first defeat on home soil in Europe this term.

Bono looked unimpressed as Arsenal exited the Champions League tonight

As it happened: Monaco v Arsenal, Champions League

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