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PIX: Messi brace sees Barca rout BATE, Chelsea held in Valencia

Last updated on: September 29, 2011 13:07 IST
Bate Borisov's Yegor Filipenko (right) and Barcelona's Lionel Messi vie for possession during their Champions League match on Wednesday

Lionel Messi scored twice and moved higher up the record books as Barcelona crushed BATE Borisov 5-0 away for their first win in Champions League Group H on Wednesday.

The World Player of the Year headed the third just before the break and smashed the fourth high into the net to equal Ladislau Kubala as Barca's second highest scorer of all time with 194 goals.

Messi, 24, is now only 41 goals behind top scorer Cesar Rodriguez.

"As (coach) Pep Guardiola said on the weekend we are watching history being made," Barca's other Argentine Javier Mascherano told Spanish radio.

"We should try and enjoy it, because we know it will be very difficult to see another player like him."

An own goal from BATE's Aleksandr Volodko in the 19th minute and a header from Pedro three minutes later had set Barca on course for a victory in which they barely broke a sweat. David Villa wrapped up the scoring at the end.

Barca dominant from the start

Last updated on: September 29, 2011 13:07 IST
Barcelona's Pedro Rodr guez (right) scores past BATE Borisov's goalkeeper Aleksandr Gutor

Barca had started their title defence with a 2-2 draw at home to AC Milan two weeks ago and went level on four points with the Italians at the top of the group after Milan won 2-0 at home to Viktoria Plzen.

BATE set their stall out with 10 yellow shirts staying back and former Chelsea striker Mateja Kezman a very lonely figure up front as Barca were utterly dominant.

The visitors at first found it crowded and did not get a clear sniff of goal until Daniel Alves floated a cross in towards the back post and Volodko turned the ball into his own net under pressure from Messi.

BATE were quickly two behind when a similar move, this time from left to right, saw Villa dink a ball over the defence and Pedro arrived before hesitant home keeper Aleksandr Gutor to head home.

'It was a comfortable result, we hardly had any problems'

Last updated on: September 29, 2011 13:07 IST
Barcelona's Lionel Messi (left) and Seydou Keita celebrate a goal

The visitors were almost playing at walking pace when Gutor gifted them a third, fumbling a straightforward cross under his bar and Messi nodded into the open net in the 38th.

It was only Messi's second headed goal in the Champions League, after the one he scored in the final win over Manchester United two years ago.

After a lengthy period of possession in the 56th minute, Alves pulled the ball back for Messi, who despite being surrounded by five defenders rifled a shot into the top corner.

Villa rounded off the scoring, breaching the offside trap to slide home the fifth in the 90th minute as Barca matched their biggest ever away win in the Champions League.

"It was a comfortable result, we hardly had any problems but that was because we took it very seriously from the first minute," Mascherano added.

Kalou the villain as Chelsea held 1-1 in Valencia

Last updated on: September 29, 2011 13:07 IST
Roberto Soldado of Valencia celebrates with teammate Adil Rami (left) after scoring from the penalty spot

Substitute Salomon Kalou was the villain for Chelsea and goalkeeper Diego Alves the hero for Valencia as the London club gifted the Spaniards a late equaliser in a 1-1 draw in Champions League Group E on Wednesday.

Frank Lampard put Chelsea ahead in the 56th minute at the Mestalla but his fine goal was cancelled out when Ivory Coast forward Kalou, who had replaced Lampard only minutes earlier, flapped an arm at a Valencia cross and the referee pointed to the spot.

Striker Roberto Soldado struck the ball low to goalkeeper Petr Cech's left for an 87th-minute leveller before Alves produced the last of a string of brilliant stops to deny substitute Nicolas Anelka.

The Brazilian had earlier saved twice from Fernando Torres and once from Ramires during a frenetic period of Chelsea pressure that culminated in Lampard's goal.

"We had chances to make it 2-0 in the second half but we had bad luck," Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas said.

Asked about the Kalou incident, the Portuguese added: "We don't praise people in public and we don't criticise either. It was one of those incidents you can't control."

Chelsea were strong against a nervous Valencia

Last updated on: September 29, 2011 13:07 IST
Valencia's Pablo Hernandez (right) is challenged by Chelsea's Florent Malouda

Chelsea top the group with four points from two matches, with German side Bayer Leverkusen in second on three points thanks to their 2-0 win at home to Genk. Valencia have two points in third and Genk one point in fourth.

Chelsea, the 2008 finalists, started strongly against a nervous-looking Valencia, who committed a number of mistakes in midfield in the early stages.

The home side's French defender Adil Rami had to be alert to thwart Torres in the third minute when the Spain striker raced through the middle following an error by David Albelda.

Lampard forced a fine save from Alves with a powerful low free kick in the 14th before Valencia had their first real chance in the 25th when Pablo Hernandez turned Jordi Alba's cross into the side netting.

'Lampard put in a fine individual performance'

Last updated on: September 29, 2011 13:07 IST
Frank Lampard celebrates with teammates after scoring against Valencia

Valencia, who were held to a disappointing 0-0 draw at Genk in their opening game, started to come back into the match before halftime but fell behind after Chelsea turned the screw early in the second period.

Alves produced four stunning stops inside three minutes but there was nothing the Brazilian could do when Florent Malouda sped down the right wing and squared for Lampard to smash the ball low into the corner with a superb first-time strike.

The 33-year-old England midfielder was left on the bench against Swansea City at the weekend but provided the perfect response to speculation about his future.

"Lampard put in a fine individual performance and he scored a goal," Villas-Boas said. "He is a great player and we are very pleased with him."

Ibrahimovic, harsh penalty sink brave Plzen

Last updated on: September 29, 2011 13:07 IST
Zlatan Ibrahimovic (left) celebrates with teammates after scoring against Viktoria Plzen

An excellent performance from Zlatan Ibrahimovic and a harsh penalty gave AC Milan a 2-0 win over Viktoria Plzen on Wednesday after the rank outsiders had threatened to pull off an upset.

Plzen, taking part in the Champions League for the first time, had the first chance of the match and created plenty of other openings as they refused to be overawed at the San Siro.

But they were undone in the 53rd minute when Ibrahimovic flicked the ball up in the area and it hit Marian Cisovsky's hand.

Although there was clearly no way Cisovsky could get his hand out of the way in time, referee Florian Meyer pointed to the spot and Ibrahimovic fired home the penalty.

Thirteen minutes later, the Swede, returning from a two-week injury layoff, slipped a ball between two defenders for Antonio Cassano to chip over Plzen goalkeeper Marek Cech for the second.

"It was a very severe penalty and it was a turning point in the game," said Plzen coach Pavel Vrba, who last season stunned Czech football by taking his team of unrated journeymen to their first league title.

'The match was balanced until the penalty'

Last updated on: September 29, 2011 13:07 IST
AC Milan's Zlatan Ibrahimovic is challenged by Viktoria Plzen's Vaclav Pilar

Milan coach Massimiliano Allegri, whose team have four points from two games in Group H alongside holders Barcelona, had other ideas in his news conference: "The match was balanced until the penalty but it was a clear penalty."

With a team built around 36-year-old playmaker Pavel Horvath and unable to use their own stadium because it is not up to competition standards, Plzen seemed the unlikeliest of teams to cause an upset.

But the team from the town famous for producing Pilsener beer nearly went ahead when Marek Bakos saw his close-range header turned away by Christian Abbiati in the third minute.

Plzen, who began their campaign away to Armenia side Pyunik in July and won all six qualifying games, went on to produce 13 shots to Milan's 14 and four corners to the hosts' five.

Although Milan were missing Robinho, Alexandre Pato, Kevin-Prince Boateng and Philippe Mexes, none of that mattered as Ibrahimovic recovered from the thigh injury which kept him out of the 2-2 draw at Barca two weeks ago.

Cassano seals the deal for Milan

Last updated on: September 29, 2011 13:07 IST
AC Milans' Antonio Cassano celebrates after scoring

His first contribution was to burst down the right and produce a low cross for Cassano whose strike was brilliantly saved by Cech's legs.

Cassano had another shot tipped around the post by the goalkeeper and then it was Ibrahimovic's turn as Cech pushed his close-range shot over the bar and then dived to smother another effort.

Plzen put together plenty of good moves of their own, the best ending with Horvath somehow shooting wide from near the penalty spot.

Ibrahimovic's goal put paid to their hopes and the Swede then put on a party piece as he played keepy-uppy down the left, flicked the ball to Clarence Seedorf and he found Cassano, who shot wide.

Cassano made no mistake from the next chance, however, as he sealed only Milan's second home win in the Champions League in the last three seasons.

Ruthless Zenit overpower 10-man Porto 3-1

Last updated on: September 29, 2011 13:07 IST
Zenit St. Petersburg's players congratulate teammate Danny (left, foreground) after scoring against Porto

Roman Shirokov scored twice to lead Zenit St Petersburg to a 3-1 victory over 10-man Porto in their Champions League Group G match on Wednesday.

The Portuguese were forced to play with a man short for the entire second half after defender Jorge Fucile was sent off just before the break for picking up his second yellow card.

James Rodriguez had fired the visitors ahead in the 10th minute, slotting home at the far post from a Hulk cross following a quick counter-attack.

Shirokov levelled 10 minutes later when Porto keeper Helton failed to hold on to a Viktor Faizulin cross, allowing the midfielder to fire into an empty net.

Porto, twice European champions and winners of the Europa League last season, looked more dangerous in the first half.

Alvaro Pereira fired a powerful shot into the top corner, forcing Zenit keeper Vyacheslav Malafeyev to make a diving save.

But the Russians, desperate for their first win after a shock 2-1 defeat at APOEL Nicosia in their group opener two weeks ago, pressed their numerical advantage after the interval.

Alexander Kerzhakov, joint top scorer in the Russian league with 15 goals so far this season, wasted a great chance three minutes into the second half when he blasted his shot against the post from 10 metres with the goal at his mercy.

The home team also had an effort disallowed by English referee Howard Webb for a marginal offside against Kerzhakov before Shirokov finally made it 2-1 midway through the second half after another smart move by Faizulin.

Portugal winger Danny sealed the win 18 minutes from time, putting Zenit level on three points with Porto, who had never lost to a Russian team in European competition, and APOEL who were visiting pointless Shakhtar Donetsk later on Wednesday.

Ayew double helps Marseille thrash Dortmund

Last updated on: September 29, 2011 13:07 IST
Olympique Marseille's Andre Ayew celebrates after scoring against Borussia Dortmund

Andre Ayew scored twice to help Olympique Marseille maintain their perfect Champions League start with a clinical 3-0 home win against Borussia Dortmund on Wednesday.

Ghana forward Ayew struck in each half and France striker Loic Remy was also on target in a lively game to put Marseille firmly in command of Group F with six points from two games.

France keeper Steve Mandanda was also instrumental in the former champions' win, making a series of superb saves throughout.

Ayew, who opened the scoring in the 20th minute, put the result beyond doubt in the 69th from the penalty spot after Remy had doubled the tally, leaving Dortmund third in the Group with one point.

Marseille's night finished on a sour note when substitute Jordan Ayew was sent off in stoppage time, picking up a second yellow card for diving.

"Winning a Champions League game does not happen that often," coach Didier Deschamps, who was in the Juventus team that lost 3-1 in the Champions League final against Dortmund in 1997, said.

"But we were not unlucky tonight, they did not deserve to lose with such a big margin. It was not perfect but we've got six points."

Marseille will next face Arsenal, who are second in the Group with four points after beating Olympiakos 2-1 on Wednesday.

"We now have two games to play against Arsenal, who are the best team in the Group, and we need to take points against them," said Deschamps.

Marseille will entertain the Londoners, who have also been struggling in their domestic league, in three weeks time.

'We made several mistakes and we paid for them'

Last updated on: September 29, 2011 13:07 IST
Borussia Dortmund's Kevin Grosskreutz (left) and Sven Bender (right) challenge Olympique Marseille's Andre Ayew (centre)

Dortmund coach Juergen Klopp said his side had paid dearly for their mistakes.

"We could have equalised on several occasions. In the first half, but also in the beginning of the second half," Klopp told a news conference.

"We made several mistakes and we paid for them. Sometimes you just have to kick the ball away.

"Even when we enjoy possession, we're not patient enough. We played well but we still lost 3-0."

The German champions got off to a solid start but Marseille looked dangerous on the break, and the hosts went ahead when Andre Ayew, a constant threat on the left flank, was set up by Remy to unleash a low shot past Roman Weidenfeller.

Marseille, who have won only one from eight league games this season, stayed in front thanks to the in-form Mandanda as the France keeper denied Mario Goetze several times with lightning quick saves.

Didier Deschamps's side doubled the lead in the 62nd minute against the run of play when a Mats Hummels header landed into the path of Remy, who volleyed home from inside the box.

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