Javier Mascherano dismisses Arsenal complaints

Barcelona midfielder Javier Mascherano insists his side were deserving winners of their Champions League last-16 tie with Arsenal.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger felt his team would have progressed through to the quarter-finals of the competition but for the controversial second-half dismissal of Gunners forward Robin van Persie by referee Massimo Busacca.

At that point the score in last night's second leg at the Nou Camp was 1-1 after a Sergio Busquets own goal had cancelled out Lionel Messi's opener for Barca, leaving Arsenal holding a 3-2 aggregate lead.

However, Barca turned the tie around with two goals in a three-minute spell midway through the second half, Xavi levelling things up on aggregate before Messi's penalty decided things in favour of the Catalan giants.

Wenger was convinced Arsenal would have won the game if Van Persie had not been dismissed, but Mascherano believes Barca were worthy victors and pointed to the statistics to back up his case - Arsenal failed to register a shot all night and had significantly less possession of the ball.

"Wenger has every right to his opinion, but the statistics say that it would have been very unfair if we hadn't qualified having not received a single shot on goal," Mascherano was quoted as saying by Marca.

"It was unusual that it was 1-1 without them having had a shot. Wenger knows how the game was, it's tough to lose and nobody likes to be knocked out."

He added pointedly: "Barca always win due to the referee, never because of their play, not because they had 19 shots on goal, or for having 74% of the possession or completing 900 passes...

"Lets not be hypocrites. We didn't allow them them to breathe, that was the key. We played like Barca and that's why we qualified."

The former Liverpool man added: "I'm proud of how the team stayed true to their philosophy during the game. At times when teams have to force the win they lose their identity, but it wasn't like that. It could have been 5-1 or 6-1 because we had very clear goalscoring chances."

Mascherano played his part in the victory with a crucial late intervention to deny Arsenal substitute Nicklas Bendtner a great opportunity, although the Argentinian preferred to praise his team rather than accept individual plaudits.

"I don't feel a saviour. I did my job. We've qualified for what the team has done together and not for any special action. For me it's the team and not the individual," he said.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific