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Rediff.com  » Sports » CL: Barca and Milan reach last 16 , APOEL march on

CL: Barca and Milan reach last 16 , APOEL march on

November 02, 2011 09:21 IST

Barcelona and AC Milan qualified for the last 16 of the Champions League as expected with room to spare on Tuesday and surprise package APOEL Nicosia are poised to join them after continuing to punch above their weight.

Chelsea and Arsenal still have work to do though after both teams were held to draws.

Unstoppable Lionel Messi scored a hat-trick for holders Barcelona, the first of which was his 200th goal for the club, as they beat Viktoria Plzen 4-0 in Prague to move top of Group H above Milan who were held 1-1 at BATE Borisov.

MessiZlatan Ibrahimovic was on target for Milan and, although the Serie A side conceded a second-half goal from the penalty spot, Barca's result ensured the two giants of European football will be in the knockout rounds which start in February.

Cypriots APOEL are just one win away from reaching the knockout stage for the first time after a last-gasp 2-1 victory against former European champions Porto.

Still undefeated in Group G, they have eight points, one more than Russian champions Zenit Petersburg who beat Shakhtar Donetsk 1-0. APOEL visit Zenit in the next round of matches in three weeks when victory will seal top spot in a tough group.

Arsenal could have guaranteed their progress from Group F with a home win against Olympique Marseille but with the prolific Robin van Persie among the substitutes the Gunners were left frustrated with a 0-0 draw.

Both teams should still qualify although Borussia Dortmund kept alive their hopes of a top two place in the group with a 1-0 home victory against Greek side Olympiakos.

Group E is still very open with two rounds left after Chelsea were held 1-1 at Belgian club Genk and Valencia beat Bayer Leverkusen 3-1. Chelsea have eight points, Leverkusen are on six and Valencia have five.

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