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Liverpool, Inter, Chelsea through to last 16
November 24, 2005 08:40 IST
European champions Liverpool, Inter Milan and Chelsea moved into the last 16 of the Champions League on Wednesday, although Liverpool took their place despite being held to a goalless draw at Anfield by Real Betis.
That point was enough to see them through from Group G along with English rivals Chelsea, who also advanced after a comfortable 2-0 win over Anderlecht in Brussels, the Belgian side's record-extending 12th successive Champions League defeat.
Ten teams are now through to the last 16 with Liverpool, Chelsea and Inter joining Arsenal, Ajax Amsterdam, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Juventus, Olympique Lyon and Real Madrid in the first knockout round.
Despite failing to win, Liverpool (11 points) did enough to qualify and will either finish first or second in the group depending on the outcome of their last match at Chelsea (10 points) on December 6.
Chelsea raced into a 2-0 lead after only 15 minutes against Anderlecht in Brussels with goals from Hernan Crespo and Ricardo Carvalho, but despite dominating the English champions could not score again.
Neither, unsurprisingly, could Anderlecht who have now gone five games without a goal in this season's competition proper.
Chelsea at least ended a year's wait for an away win in the competition after five defeats and a draw.
Inter Milan had good reason to celebrate their place in the last 16 after a thumping one-sided 4-0 win over Artmedia Bratislava at a deserted San Siro in Group H.
It was the last of their four matches to be played behind closed doors after crowd trouble against AC Milan last season and was secured with a superb hat-trick from Brazilian Adriano.
Inter also took the field with no Italians in the side and only one European -- Portuguese Luis Figo who scored their opening goal.
Rangers kept their hopes alive in the same group by drawing 1-1 at Porto leaving Inter confirmed in top spot on 12 points, followed by Rangers (6), Artmedia (5) and Porto (4).
Inter's arch-rivals AC Milan also produced a 4-0 win with a blistering performance against Fenerbahce in Istanbul with European Footballer of the Year Andrei Shevchenko going one better than Adriano by scoring all four goals in their Group E victory.
The result was in stark contrast to Milan's last match in Istanbul when they lost the Champions League final to Liverpool in May after being 3-0 ahead, but there was no hint of a repeat of that nightmare on Wednesday as they dominated throughout.
Schalke 04 crushed Group E leaders PSV Eindhoven 3-0 in Gelsenkirchen with a hat-trick, including two penalties, from Levan Kobiashvili and with one match to play AC Milan and Schalke have eight points and PSV seven with all three still hoping to qualify. Fenerbahce are out of contention on four.
Lyon (13 points) secured top place in Group F ahead of Real (10 points) although they lost their 100 percent record after the teams drew 1-1 at the Bernabeau.
Guti put Real ahead in the first half and Norwegian striker John Carew equalised for Lyon late in the second.
Lyon cannot be knocked off top spot even if they lose their last match at home to Rosenborg Trondheim and Real win at Olympiakos because the French champions have a better head-to-head record after beating Real 3-0 in September.
Rosenborg equalised two minutes from time against Olympiakos, who finished with 10 men, to draw 1-1 and secure a UEFA Cup spot by guaranteeing third place in the group.
Olympiakos were denied their first ever away win in the Champions league after 27 failures but at least ended a run of six successive defeats in the competition.
The final matchday takes place on December 6 and 7 before the knockout phase begins in February.
UEFA Champions League 2005-06: The Complete Coverage