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Liverpool, Real Madrid storm into last 16
December 12, 2007 08:12 IST
Last Updated: December 12, 2007 10:35 IST
Liverpool and Real Madrid secured berths in the Champions League last 16 with emphatic wins in their final group matches on Tuesday.
Nine-times champions Real Madrid topped Group C with a 3-1 win over Lazio while Liverpool, the winners of five titles, advanced from Group A with a 4-0 rout of Olympique Marseille.
Liverpool's third successive victory in Europe, after they picked up only one point from their opening three matches, sent the 2005 winners through with 2004 holders Porto, who secured top spot in the group with the 2-0 defeat of Besiktas.
Marseille suffered their third consecutive loss and a UEFA Cup spot, reserved for the eight third-placed teams, will be scant consolation for the 1993 European champions.
Real raced to an early 2-0 lead after Robinho set up Brazil [Images] strike partner Julio Baptista to drill in the opener and then swung in a corner for Raul to head home his 59th goal in Europe's premier club competition.
Robinho scored the third in the 36th minute from close range to help Real reach the last 16 for the 11th successive season. Goran Pandev pulled one back for the Italian side in the 80th minute.
Greek champions Olympiakos Piraeus joined Real from Group C after two goals by Ieroklis Stoltidis either side of a Darko Kovacevic header gave them a 3-0 home win over Werder Bremen.
Two goals in the opening 11 minutes gave Liverpool a dream start at the Stade Velodrome after Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres silenced the vociferous home crowd.
Gerrard blasted in a rebound in the fourth minute after the keeper had parried his penalty kick awarded for a foul by Gael Givet on the Liverpool captain.
Torres made it 2-0 when he picked up Harry Kewell's pass and pierced through three defenders with a dazzling solo run before side-footing his shot into the far corner.
Dirk Kuyt scored the third with a clinical finish in the 48th minute and second-half substitute Ryan Babel [Images] completed the rout in injury time.
Chelsea, who had won Group B with a match to spare, drew 0-0 with eliminated Valencia at Stamford Bridge.
Their passage means all four Premier League teams in the competition, including Manchester United and Arsenal, have reached the last 16.
Schalke 04 beat Rosenborg 3-1 at home to leapfrog the Norwegian side into second position in the group thanks to goals from Gerald Asamoah, Rafinha and Kevin Kuranyi.
Holders AC Milan and Celtic advanced from Group D in which the final matches were played last week because of Milan's involvement in the Club World Cup in Japan [Images].
UEFA Champions League 2007-08: The Complete Coverage