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Rediff.com  » Sports » Champions League PHOTOS: Night of records for Messi and Chelsea

Champions League PHOTOS: Night of records for Messi and Chelsea

Last updated on: November 06, 2014 11:44 IST

Barcelona's Lionel Messi celebrates his goal with teammate Pedro Rodriguez (R) during their Champions League Group F soccer match

Barcelona's Lionel Messi (left) celebrates his goal with teammate Pedro Rodriguez (right) during their Champions League Group F soccer match against Ajax on Wednesday. Photograph: Michael Kooren/Reuters

Barcelona forward Lionel Messi equalled the Champions League scoring record of 71 goals when he struck for the second time in the 76th minute of Wednesday's Group F match at Ajax Amsterdam.

The Argentina four-times world player of the year matched the record set by former Real Madrid and Schalke 04 striker Raul.

Messi moved within one goal of the record when he headed home Marc Bartra's hooked cross after 36 minutes in the Amsterdam Arena to draw level on 70 goals with Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo.

He matched Raul with 14 minutes remaining, tapping home after exchanging a neat one-two with Pedro.

“Is Messi the best player of all time? Absolutely," Barcelona coach Luis Enrique told reporters. "He is the best player I have ever seen as a player or as a coach.”

Messi's feat was also enjoyed by his team mates.

"I'm happy for Leo because of the work he does for the team and because he is number one, the best," Barca midfielder Xavi said.

"Leo has a free role along with the others up front, but they also have some important defensive work to do. At this club we all work and when we all work the team functions."

Chelsea equal record after mighty Maribor scare

Maribor's Aleksander Rajcevic (left) challenges Chelsea's Diego Costa during their Champions League Group G match at stadium Ljudski vrt in Maribor on Wednesday

Maribor's Aleksander Rajcevic (left) challenges Chelsea's Diego Costa during their Champions League Group G match at stadium Ljudski vrt in Maribor on Wednesday. Photograph: Srdjan Zivulovic/Reuters

Chelsea stretched their unbeaten start to the season to a club record-equalling 16 games with a 1-1 Champions League draw against Maribor on Wednesday but the 2012 winners were given a mighty scare.

The Slovenian upstarts, destroyed 6-0 by Chelsea at Stamford Bridge two weeks ago, took the lead in the 50th minute when Macedonia winger Agim Ibraimi curled in a spectacular left-foot shot from the edge of the box.

Maribor, buoyed by a noisy crowd, swarmed all over Jose Mourinho's side and had a great chance to make it 2-0 on the hour when unmarked teenager Luka Zahovic blazed the ball over the bar from six metres with an open goal at his mercy.

Chelsea then upped the tempo and Nemanja Matic equalised with a tap-in at the far post after captain John Terry had headed on a right-wing corner from Cesc Fabregas in the 73rd minute.

The Londoners spurned an excellent opportunity to grab all three points when Eden Hazard was tripped in the box with four minutes to go. The Belgian picked himself up to take the penalty but his effort was saved by Jasmin Handanovic.

Group G leaders Chelsea still look well placed to qualify for the knockout stages with eight points from four games.

'In the last 30 minutes we started to play really well with intensity and desire'

Maribor's Agim Ibraimi (centre) celebrates with team mates after scoring against Chelsea

Maribor's Agim Ibraimi (centre) celebrates with team mates after scoring against Chelsea. Photograph: Srdjan Zivulovic/Reuters

A grim-faced Mourinho, who brought on Diego Costa and Oscar for Andre Schuerrle and Willian at halftime and also replaced Filipe Luis with Ramires 11 minutes into the second half, was clearly unhappy with his side.

"We didn't play well in the first half ... and when you don't play well for 90 minutes you take a risk," the Portuguese told Sky Sports television.

"In the last 30 minutes we started to play really well with intensity and desire and we had a lot of chances but their keeper was magnificent."

Chelsea started the game on the front foot with the unmarked Kurt Zouma heading over from six metres and Didier Drogba, making his 100th career appearance in a UEFA competition, forcing Handanovic into a sprawling stop.

The longer the half went on, however, the more pedestrian the passing became from the visitors.

Ibraimi's stunning left-foot drive sent the crowd wild and Maribor, back in the Champions League group stages after a 15-year absence, sensed victory but Hazard, Oscar and Fabregas suddenly took hold of proceedings.

Record the only consolation for Chelsea

Chelsea's Nemanja Matic celebrates after scoring against Maribor

Chelsea's Nemanja Matic celebrates after scoring against Maribor. Photograph: Srdjan Zivulovic/Reuters

The Londoners continued to drive forward after Matic's equaliser and Handanovic performed heroics when he went full length to deny Hazard after the Belgian burst clean through the home defence.

The Maribor keeper then tipped over a powerful volley from Costa who also had a goal chalked off because Fabregas was offside.

Hazard then saw his spot kick saved by Handanovic -- the winger's first missed penalty in his two and a half years at Stamford Bridge.

At the final whistle Chelsea could console themselves in the knowledge they had equalled their best-ever start to a campaign set in season 2005-06.

Bayern book CL last 16 spot post 2-0 Roma win

Bayern Munich's Mario Goetze gestures after scoring against AS Roma 

Bayern Munich's Mario Goetze (C) gestures after he scored a goal against AS Roma. Photograph: Michael Dalder/Reuters

Bayern Munich have clinched a spot in the Champions League knock-out stage and fixed their place as Group E winners following Wednesday's 2-0 win over Roma with two games to spare.

Goals by France winger Franck Ribery and Germany's Mario Goetze sealed the win, which put Bayern into the last 16 as group winners with a perfect 12 points so far.

Bayern collected their fourth straight win to gain an unassailable eight-point lead before their remaining group matches at bottom side Manchester City and home to CSKA Moscow next month, Sport24 reported.

However, the victory came at a price as left-back David Alaba injured the medial ligament in his knee, with a scan due Thursday, and coach Pep Guardiola expects him to miss the rest of the year.

Despite losing to Bayern home and away, Roma are still primed to join them in the knock out phase as they stay second in the group, but level on four points with CSKA whom they play away in three weeks.

As Guardiola had predicted, the hosts encountered a far more robust Roma defence compared to their record 7-1 routing of the Italians in Rome a fortnight ago.

'Roma didn't want to suffer again so they played very defensive'

Franck Ribery scores against AS Roma on Wednesday 

Bayern Munich's Franck Ribery (centre) scores against AS Roma. Photograph: Michael Dalder

Bayern captain Philipp Lahm said that they knew it wouldn't be so easy as in the first-leg, but added that they had the game under control. He said that the most important thing was getting into a 1-0 lead.

Lahm said that Roma were very defensive, packed men behind the ball, and it's not so easy when a team plays like that.

"I am satisfied with the way we played tonight," Bayern coach Pep Guardiola told reporters.

"I am happy to have these players, they are always eager and ready to play."

"Roma didn’t want to suffer again so they played very defensive, with six defenders. But we were dominant, especially in the second half."

Roma, desperate to avoid a repeat of their 7-1 home demolition by Bayern this month, piled bodies into defence and kept pace for almost the entire first half but were eventually outclassed and stayed in second place on four points.

"We are aware that Bayern are a few steps ahead of us right now so we tried to adapt," said Roma coach Rudi Garcia.

"They are a very strong side and they proved it once again. We had a good tactical and mental approach to the game. I think we cancelled the bad image of the game in Rome."

City lose to Moscow

Seydou Doumbia of CSKA Moscow celebrates with Ahmed Musa (right) after scoring against Manchester City

Seydou Doumbia of CSKA Moscow celebrates with Ahmed Musa (right) after scoring against Manchester City. Photograph: Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Manchester City's Champions League campaign dreams suffered a major blow as they lost 2-1 to CSKA Moscow at Etihad Stadium and now have to win the next to games to stand any chance of advancing to the knockout stages.

Not only did City lose to two first-half goals from Seydou Doumbia, they also saw midfielders Fernandinho and Yaya Toure sent off after the break and ruled out of their next home game against Bayern Munich.

Toure had equalised Doumbia's first goal at the eight minute but that was a rare high spot in a dismal performance by Manuel Pellegrini's side, The BBC reported.

City now have no wins and only two points from four group games, and must beat Bayern and win at Roma to stand any chance of progression.

City's fans were furious with Greek referee Tasos Sidiropolous at the final whistle, not only for the two red cards but also for a case of mistaken identity that spared CSKA's Pontus Wernbloom a dismissal.

City face a huge task against all odds to escape this group because nothing they have offered up in the Champions League suggests they would see off Bayern and Roma.

It would also leave Pellegrini facing awkward questions because their efforts this season suggest they have gone backwards in their attempt to challenge Europe's elite, the report added. (ANI)

"It is very difficult to understand how we played so bad from the beginning. We were so nervous, we gave away two bad goals. We didn't play," City manager Manuel Pellegrini told Sky Sports.

"It is difficult to know why it was such a low performance from important players. It is a strange moment. It is not just this competition."

Cavani sends PSG through to Champions League last 16

Cavani celebrates

Paris St Germain's Edison Cavani. Photograph: Gonzalo Fuentes/Reuters

Edinson Cavani's early goal helped Paris St Germain secure their place in the Champions League last 16 with two games to spare after a 1-0 home win over APOEL on Wednesday.

Uruguay striker Cavani found the back of the net in the first minute to hand PSG their second win in as many matches against APOEL, who are eliminated from Europe's premier club competition.

PSG lead Group F with 10 points from four games ahead of Barcelona, who trail the French champions by one point. Ajax lie third on two points and APOEL are bottom with one.

Barca beat Ajax 2-0 away to book their ticket in the knockout phase.

"We did what we had to. It was difficult to find space against a team who came to defend," said team captain Thiago Silva.

"There are still things to improve. Now we rest, because on Sunday we have another game that will be more difficult than this one."

APOEL had a good opportunity in the first half through Nuno Morais but they were never a threat at the Parc des Princes, even if PSG wasted almost a dozen chances in an erratic performance four days before taking on arch-rivals and Ligue 1 leaders Olympique de Marseille.

Blanc's side were still without talismanic striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who has been out of action with a heel injury since September, but it was quickly forgotten.

Blanc said he was hopeful Ibrahimovic could return on Sunday to face PSG.

Cavani scored PSG's fastest goal in the Champions League when he volleyed home from inside the box after teeing himself up from Gregory van der Wiel's cross after 54 seconds, also benefiting from keeper Urko Pardo's clumsiness.

It was Cavani's fourth goal in as many games and the Uruguayan then wasted a handful of clear chances.

Morais came close to equalising shortly afterwards but he skied a close-range shot over the bar.

Sporting Lisbon avenge Schalke defeat

Islam Slimani scored at both ends as Sporting Lisbon beat Schalke 04 4-2 on Wednesday to avenge last month's controversial defeat against the Bundesliga side and haul themselves back into contention in the Champions League.

The Algeria forward headed into his own goal to give Schalke the lead, then capped his team's impressive fightback with a clinically-taken goal in stoppage time.

Sporting's win left them third with four points from four games in Group G, one point and place behind their German opponents and with a better head-to-head record.

Last season's Portuguese Primeira Liga runners-up were left seething two weeks ago when a controversial stoppage-time penalty gave Schalke a 4-3 win after Sporting had fought back from 3-1 down to level at 3-3.

Schalke went ahead with their first attack after 17 minutes when Slimani touched Dennis Aogo's floated free kick into his own goal.

Mouhamadou-Naby Sarr levelled nine minutes later, heading in a free kick, and Brazilian left back Jefferson fired the hosts in front seven minutes after halftime when he rifled a powerful, low shot past Ralf Faehrmann from 25 metres.

Sporting goalkeeper Rui Patricio then made a crucial save when he managed to take the ball off Chinedu Obasi's foot as the Nigerian seemed certain to round him and score into an empty net.

Nani put Sporting further ahead in the 72nd minute after Andre Carillo burst down the right and rolled the ball across the face of goal to leave the on-loan player from Manchester United with the simplest of tasks.

Although Aogo pulled one back for Schalke, Slimani settled matters when he burst clear of Roman Neustaedter on the break and placed his shot out of Faehrmann's reach with a perfectly-timed finish.

"We did far too little to win," Schalke striker Klaas-Jan Huntelaar told Sky. "We scored two goals from two chances so at least we were efficient."

Martinez strike helps steer Porto into last 16

A second-half Jackson Martinez strike helped Porto book their place in the Champions League's last 16 with a 2-0 victory over Athletic Bilbao on Wednesday that extinguished the hopes of the Basque side.

Martinez, who missed a penalty at the end of the first half, was less forgiving after the break and bundled the ball home from close range on 56 minutes.

Yacine Brahimi made the most of a simple chance to wrap up the points with 17 minutes remaining when Athletic keeper Gorka Iraizoz failed to control a back pass.

Porto lead Group H with 10 points from four games while Shakhtar Donetsk, who beat BATE Borisov 5-0 are two points behind.

Athletic qualified for the Champions League group stage for the first time in 16 years, but a sorry run of results means they have just one point and are now eliminated.

"As a group we played well together and doing that it gives you the chance to win big things. We worked hard, we knew it would be difficult and we would be under pressure,” a bullish Martinez.

“You can’t put limits on this side but we know where we are aiming at which is the final, God willing.”