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Barcelona rout Basel, Liverpool draw
October 23, 2008 09:33 IST
Barcelona put one foot in the Champions League last 16 with a 5-0 away drubbing of Basel on Wednesday which left them as the only team with a 100 percent record halfway through the group stage.
Chelsea also closed in on the knockout stage after a John Terry header gave them a 1-0 home win over Roma and five-time winners Liverpool are in a good position too following a 1-1 draw at Atletico Madrid.
That result left the two teams joint top in Group D on seven points after Simao Sabrosa steered in a late equaliser to cancel out Robbie Keane's 14th-minute opener for Liverpool.
"If you had said before the game that we would have seven points after three matches I would have said 'Good'," Liverpool coach Rafa Benitez said.
"But after we were leading after 83 minutes I would say we lost two points."
PSV Eindhoven chalked up their first points in the group with a 2-0 home win over Olympique Marseille, courtesy of a Danny Koevermans brace that left the 1993 European Cup winners rooted to the bottom with three defeats.
An Adriano header on the stroke of half-time handed Inter Milan a 1-0 home success against Anorthosis Famagusta, leaving them firmly in the driving seat in Group B with seven points ahead of the Cypriots, who have four.
Inter coach Jose Mourinho praised his team's professional performance that fell short of the sparkling form they showed in Sunday's 4-0 Italian league rout of Roma.
"It's not been possible to play a fantastic game and have a performance like at Roma but the players have played with great professionalism," he told a news conference.
Werder Bremen registered their third straight draw in that group after a 2-2 stalemate at Panathinaikos thanks to Hugo Almeida's 83rd-minute equaliser. The draw gave the Greek side their first point.
Crisp one-touch football from Barcelona tore Basel apart as Lionel Messi [Images], Sergi Busquets and Bojan Krkic gave the 2006 winners a 3-0 lead in the opening 22 minutes.
Bojan added the fourth and Xavi Fernandez completed the rout within three minutes after the interval to give Barcelona an excellent chance of securing their progress to the last 16 in the reverse fixture against the Swiss side next month.
Barca coach Pep Guardiola hailed his team's impressive performance as important for the rest of the campaign and said the win was not as easy as it might have looked.
"We will not let the result get to our heads, but it was important for the future," he said.
"It is never easy and the players were always having to work and give their maximum but we did what we wanted to do, running the ball and playing well between the lines."
Chelsea dominated for long spells of their clash with Roma but were unable to create a clear-cut chance before Terry broke the deadlock in the 77th minute with a glancing header from Frank Lampard's [Images] corner.
Last season's finalsts have seven points in Group A, three more than Romania's CFR Cluj, who went down 1-0 at Bordeaux thanks to a 54th-minute own goal by Cadu. The French side and Roma have three each.
The evening's eight matches produced 17 goals in total, less than a half of Tuesday night's record-equalling tally of 36.
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