Holders FC Porto clinched their place in the last 16 of the UEFA Champions League in thrilling style with victory against Chelsea FC, while Arsenal FC and Werder Bremen also ensured berths in the first knockout round as Groups E-H concluded on Tuesday night.
Arsenal claimed top spot in Group E with a 5-1 triumph against Rosenborg BK at Highbury, a result that ended Panathinaikos FC's hopes despite the Greek side's impressive 4-1 defeat of already-qualified PSV Eindhoven in Athens. Arsenal and PSV finished level on ten points, but the London club took first place given their superior head-to-head record following a 1-0 win against the Dutch team on Matchday 1, their only other group success. Panathinaikos, a point further back in third place, go into the UEFA Cup. Rosenborg were already out of Europe.
AC Milan's 0-0 draw away to Celtic FC proved enough to win Group F, while FC Shakhtar Donetsk defeated runners-up FC Barcelona 2-0. Julius Aghahowa got both goals for the Ukrainian club who secured third position and a place in the UEFA Cup at Celtic's expense. Milan and Barcelona were ensured qualification at kick-off.
Valencia CF and Bremen were competing to qualify along with FC Internazionale Milano, and it was the German champions, needing only a draw, who prevailed thanks to two late goals from substitute Nelson Valdez in a 2-0 win at the Mestalla. Miguel Ángel Angulo was sent off for the home side who will now turn their attentions to defending the UEFA Cup. Inter matched their Milanese rivals by winning the group, a 3-0 defeat of RSC Anderlecht meaning the Belgian team bow out without gaining even a point.
On a night of high drama in this pool, European champions Porto joined group winners Chelsea in the first knockout round after coming from a goal down to beat the Londoners. Thanks to Benni McCarthy's late strike in a 2-1 victory, Porto did not become the first holders to exit in the group stage. The result also meant heartbreak for PFC CSKA Moskva who were pushed into third despite beating Paris Saint-Germain FC 3-1 at the Parc des Princes with a Sergei Semak hat-trick - the Russian side were provisionally in second place until McCarthy's 86th-minute goal. CSKA at least qualify for the UEFA Cup, some reward for a battling performance that saw them score twice after being reduced to ten men by Deividas Semberas's 54th-minute dismissal. Bernard Mendy was sent off for PSG - who held second position at kick-off - in added time.
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