Champions League

WRAP: Champions League

2011-11-02 06:44
Lionel Messi (AFP)
Paris - AC Milan and defending champions Barcelona both reached the last 16 of the Champions League on Tuesday, but Premier League giants Arsenal and Chelsea were made to wait to secure qualification.

Arsenal, 5-3 victors at Chelsea on Sunday, needed victory at home to Marseille to book their place in the knockout phase but they were held to a goalless draw.

The hosts enjoyed the best of the first half, with OM goalkeeper Steve Mandanda saving well from Theo Walcott and Gervinho, while Aaron Ramsey volleyed over from close range.

Arsenal could not sustain their momentum after the interval, however, and even the introduction of in-form captain Robin van Persie as a substitute was unable to illuminate the path to goal.

The point preserves Arsenal's one-point lead over second-placed Marseille in Group F; while Borussia Dortmund resurrected their qualifying hopes with a 1-0 win at home to Olympiakos that took them to within three points of OM.

Chelsea were held to a 1-1 draw at Belgian champions Genk, although Valencia's 3-1 defeat of Bayer Leverkusen meant that the Blues' would not have been able to qualify in any case.

Ramires put Chelsea ahead in the 26th minute, arrowing home from a narrow angle from Fernando Torres' pass, before David Luiz saw a penalty saved by Laszlo Koteles after Thomas Buffel handled Florent Malouda's cross.

Chelsea had thrashed Genk 5-0 in their previous encounter at Stamford Bridge but they were made to rue Luiz's miss just after the hour when Jelle Vossen swept home the equaliser from Fabien Camus' cut-back.

"At the moment, it's not happening for us," said Chelsea coach Andre Villas-Boas.

"It's a fixture I wanted to win. With a draw, not everything is negative but we could have done better."

Valencia scored the second-fastest goal in competition history against Leverkusen, with Jonas netting after 10.6 seconds at the Mestalla - 0.3sec slower than Roy Makaay's effort for Bayern Munich against Real Madrid in 2007.

Stefan Kiessling drew the German side level on the half hour but Roberto Soldado flicked home Jeremy Mathieu's cross to restore Valencia's lead in the second half before Adil Rami made it 3-1 with 15 minutes to play.

Chelsea now lead Leverkusen by two points at the top of Group E, while Valencia's qualification hopes have been rekindled as they are now just a point beneath the top two ahead of a home game with Genk on November 23.

Lionel Messi sent fresh landmarks tumbling as he netted another hat-trick in a 4-0 success for Barcelona at 10-man Czech champions Viktoria Plzen.

The Argentine broke the deadlock from the penalty spot in the 24th minute, after Marian Cisovsky had been sent off for bringing him down.

The spot-kick took Messi's tally for the club to 200 goals and his second goal, in first-half injury time, was his 50th goal for club and country in 2011.

Cesc Fabregas headed home in the 72nd minute, with Messi completing his second hat-trick in the space of four days - after Saturday's triple against Real Mallorca - in injury time.

The win sent Pep Guardiola's side two points above Milan in Group H, after the Italian champions' earlier 1-1 draw at BATE Borisov, but means that both the heavyweights in the group can now look forward to the round of 16.

Surprise package APOEL Nicosia preserved their lead in Group G by beating Europa League champions FC Porto 2-1 in dramatic last-gasp fashion.

Hulk appeared to have rescued a point for the Portuguese side with an 89th-minute penalty, only for Gustavo Manduca to restore the hosts' advantage with a header just a minute later.

Zenit Saint Petersburg is a point behind APOEL in second place after a 1-0 win at home to Shakhtar Donetsk.

Results from Tuesday's Champions League matches (home team denoted first):


Group E

Valencia  3 (Jonas 1, Soldado 65, Rami 75) Bayer Leverkusen 1 (Kiessling 31)
Genk 1 (Vossen 61) Chelsea 1 (Ramires 26)

Group F
Arsenal 0 Marseille 0
Borussia Dortmund 1 (Grosskreutz 7) Olympiakos 0

Group G

Zenit Saint Petersburg 1 (Lombaerts 45+1) Shakhtar Donetsk 0
APOEL Nicosia 2 (Ailton 42-pen, Manduca 90) FC Porto 1 (Hulk 89-pen)

Group H
BATE Borisov 1 (Bressan 55-pen) AC Milan 1 (Ibrahimovic 22)
Viktoria Plzen 0 Barcelona 4 (Messi 24-pen, 45+2, 90+2, Fabregas 72)

Matches to be played on Wednesday, November 2:

Bayern Munich v Napoli - 21:45
Ajax v Dinamo Zagreb - 21:45
Villarreal v Manchester City - 21:45
Benfica v Basle - 21:45
Trabzonspor v CSKA Moscow - 21:45
Lyon v Real Madrid - 21:45
Manchester United v Otelul Galati - 21:45
Inter Milan v Lille - 21:45

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