Holders FC Barcelona and AC Milan are the first two teams through to the round of 16, but Arsenal FC and Chelsea FC must wait while APOEL FC kept their superb campaign going.
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Holders FC Barcelona and AC Milan are the first two teams through to the UEFA Champions League round of 16, but Arsenal FC and Chelsea FC must wait while APOEL FC kept their superb campaign going with a dramatic win.
Milan actually suffered frustration in an early kick-off when FC BATE Borisov came from behind to hold them 1-1 in Minsk. But Barcelona then prevailed 4-0 at ten-man FC Viktoria Plzeň with a Lionel Messi hat-trick to take a two-point lead over Milan in Group H, but also ensure the seven-time champions would join them in the knockout phase. The bottom two will now compete for a UEFA Europa League berth, BATE a point to the good in third. Messi has taken the outright lead in the top scorers' list with five goals.
In the other early game, Zenit overcame FC Shakhtar Donetsk 1-0 but their Group G lead was short-lived as surprise package APOEL FC then defeated FC Porto 2-1. Gustavo Manduca scored a last-minute winner within seconds of Hulk equalising from the penalty spot. APOEL are a point ahead of Zenit with Porto three further back meaning the Cypriot side know a victory in either of their remaining games would put them in the last 16.
London rivals Chelsea and Arsenal could both have gone through tonight but found themselves pegged back. Chelsea drew 1-1 at KRC Genk and Group E now looks close after Valencia CF beat Bayer 04 Leverkusen 3-1, Jonas opening the scoring in a shade over ten seconds – only Roy Makaay's strike for FC Bayern München against Real Madrid CF on 7 March 2007 was quicker in UEFA Champions League history. Valencia are now within one point of Leverkusen and three of Chelsea.
Arsenal are still top of Group F though missed the chance to make sure of their knockout berth after being held 0-0 at home by Olympique de Marseille. A point behind the Gunners, Marseille are three ahead of Borussia Dortmund, who moved into third by beating Olympiacos FC 1-0.
The fourth set of games in Groups A to D are played on Wednesday night while the next matches in these sections are on 23 November.