Champions League

Guardiola salutes team spirit

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Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola saluted Lionel Messi and all his players after the holders crushed Arsenal to book their place in the semi-finals of the UEFA Champions League.

Messi scored all four of Barca's goals in their 4-1 triumph at Camp Nou to complete a 6-3 aggregate success and set up a meeting with Jose Mourinho's Inter Milan in the last four.


Nicklas Bendtner had given the Gunners the lead in the 19th minute, but any hopes of an upset were immediately dashed as the magical Messi grabbed a 21-minute hat-trick before adding his fourth in the closing moments.

And Barca boss Guardiola admitted it was important they got back on terms after falling behind for the first time in the tie.

"There was danger at 1-0, but suddenly Messi scored the first goal and we played better. He played very well," he told Sky Sports.

"The rest of the team played very well over the two games.

"We are so happy because we are in the semi-final and we have eliminated one of the best teams in Europe in Arsenal.

"Last year we were lucky to win the Champions League and to arrive in the semi-final for the second year means people will talk more about my players."

Barcelona and Inter have already met twice in this season's competition, having both qualified from Group F after a 0-0 draw in Italy and a 2-0 success for Guardiola's men on home turf.

He added: "We don't have much time to prepare, only one week. It shows the group we played in was very difficult.

"They were two terrible games, but we are confident we can play well and continue to show our football to Europe and to the world."

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