24 Feb Ter Stegen save turning point, says Giroud
Olivier Giroud believes Arsenal’s defeat to Barcelona hinged on goalkeeper Andre ter Stegen’s save from his header.
The Frenchman had a wonderful opportunity to put the Gunners in front but was denied by the German shot-stopper, which was to prove to be a crucial moment in the game as Lionel Messi finished off a clinical counter-attack to put Barca ahead moments later.
The Argentine ended his goal drought against Petr Cech after failing to find the back of the net in six games against the goalkeeper but he soon doubled his and Barca’s tally on the night when he converted from the penalty spot after being brought down by substitute Mathieu Flamini.
Giroud believes the header before Messi’s opener was pivotal in the outcome of the first leg and admits it’s difficult to see a way back for the Gunners at Camp Nou.
“It’s possibly the turning point. I had a duel with the defender and I think that I headed the ball well but the keeper did very well,” he told the club’s official website.
“We were not cautious enough of their counter-attack, which is a model counter-attack, and then they finished it well. We couldn’t score in the first half after we played well on the counter-attack and were dangerous.
“We couldn’t finish our hard work and it’s disappointing because at the end of the day we’re 2-0 down and our chances of qualifying are very small. There’s a lot of disappointment.
“I said before the game that we needed to be cautious if we could not win the game and not concede goals to keep our chances high for the second leg.
“In Barcelona it is very, very difficult to win, so we can have regrets after [the first leg] because we didn’t finish our counter-attacks.”