|Rediff India Abroad Home | All the sections|
Chelsea lose but enter in last 16
November 23, 2006 06:47 IST
Inter Milan and Chelsea took their places in the last 16 of the Champions League on Wednesday while Barcelona avoided the ignominy of becoming the first reigning European champions to be eliminated in the group phase.
Inter secured their place in next phase with a 1-0 Group B win over Sporting Lisbon in Milan to ensure they advanced with previously-qualified Bayern Munich, who drew 2-2 at Spartak Moscow. The defeat means Sporting are eliminated.
Hernan Crespo smashed home Inter's winner after 36 minutes.
Chelsea advance from Group A despite losing 1-0 at Werder Bremen where Per Mertesacker scored the only goal after 17 minutes with a powerful downward header following a corner.
Despite the defeat Chelsea remain top of the group with 10 points, the same as Werder and two ahead of Barcelona, who won 2-0 at Levski Sofia.
Chelsea have a better head-to-head record against Werder and even if they should unexpectedly lose at home to Levski Sofia in their last group match on December 5, and Barcelona beat Bremen to take top spot, Chelsea cannot finish lower than Bremen so qualify in second place at worst.
Barcelona were facing elimination if they had lost on Wednesday but goals from Ludovic Giuly (5th) and Andres Iniesta (64th) ensured they remain in contention.
They will go through if they beat Werder in their final match, but they cannot afford any slip-ups.
A home defeat or a draw means they will become the first champions to fail to advance from the group stage since the competition was launched in 1992.
Liverpool secured top spot in Group C with a 2-0 win over PSV Eindhoven at Anfield where Steven Gerrard and Peter Crouch scored the goals that brought PSV's 17-match unbeaten run in all competitions to an end.
In the same group Girondins Bordeaux beat Galatasaray 3-1 to take the UEFA Cup place open to teams finishing third in their Champions League groups.
Bordeaux started the game as the only team in the competition without a goal after four matches -- but then scored three times in 28 minutes to wrap up the victory.
Alejandro Alonso (22), Lilian Laslandes (47) and Julien Faubert (50) scored for the home side while Japanese midfielder Junichi Inamoto struck for Galatasaray after 73 minutes.
The Turks had been reduced to 10 men in the 59th minute when Arda Turan was red carded for a head-butt on Franck Jurietti.
Valencia wrapped up top spot in Group D with a match to spare after their 2-0 win over Olympiakos Piraeus.
The Spanish side made it four home wins out of four against Greek clubs in Europe with goals either side of halftime from Miguel Angel Angulo and Fernando Morientes.
Olympiakos have now played 30 away matches in the competition without a victory.
That result, along with Shakhtar Donetsk's 1-0 win over AS Roma in Ukraine, not only boosted Shakhtar's hopes of taking the UEFA Cup spot by climbing to third, but means Shahktar could even steal into second place if they beat Olympiakos in their final match in Greece and the Italians lose at home to Valencia.
Ciprian Marica scored Shakhtar's winner after 61 minutes and Roma, who would have qualified if they had avoided defeat, could not find an equaliser.
Bayern Munich, Liverpool, Olympique Lyon, PSV Eindhoven, Real Madrid, Valencia, AC Milan and Celtic had all qualified for the last 16 before kickoff on Wednesday and with Chelsea and Inter now assured of their places, 10 of the final 16 are known.
UEFA Champions League 2006-07: The Complete Coverage