Barcelona highlights quartet of clubs advancing: Champions League
Valencia, Shakhtar, Bayern Munich also moving on
Lionel Messi scored his ninth double of the campaign as Barcelona won 3-0 at Spartak Moscow on Tuesday to reach the knockout stage of the Champions League for the ninth straight season.
With 56 Champions League goals, Messi is now level in second place in the all-time list with Ruud Van Nisterooy, trailing only Raul Gonzalez (71).
Messi has 80 goals for club and country in 2012 — 68 for Barcelona and 12 for Argentina — to sit five behind the single-year record set by Gerd Mueller for Bayern Munich and Germany in 1972.
Defender Daniel Alves put Barcelona ahead with a low right-footed shot in the 16th minute. Messi scored from a rebound in the 27th minute, then rounded goalkeeper Andriy Dikan following a pass by Pedro Rodriguez 12 minutes later before shooting into an empty net for his 24th goal this season.
It was the Argentina striker's second double against Spartak after scoring two late goals to secure Barcelona's 3-2 come-from-behind victory in the group stage opener in September.
"Spartak played a good game at Camp Nou. But today it was about the strength of our players, not Spartak's weakness," Barcelona coach Tito Vilanova said.
Barcelona tops Group G with 12 points. Spartak is last with three points.
After Daniel Alves had given Barcelona the lead, Spartak defender Marek Suchy almost equalized in the 20th when he shot over the crossbar from 10 metres from Emmanuel Emenike's pass from the right.
Seven minutes later, Barca led 2-0 from midfielder Andres Iniesta's shot that was saved by Dikan, allowing Messi to send a low bouncing shot into the corner of the net.
It was 3-0 by the 39th minute after a superb pass from Pedro set Messi free.
Messi came close to scoring twice more but was foiled by Dikan's 57th-minute save before defender Marek Sichy ensured the Argentine couldn't slot the ball into an otherwise empty net.
"Messi is a perfect player, maybe the best player in the world right now," Spartak coach Unai Emery said. "We played well in the first half and had chances, but it was Barcelona which capitalized on their chances. We tried to take on Barcelona on the pitch but we failed on the scoreboard."
Benfica 2, Celtic 1
LISBON, Portugal — The club that joins Barcelona in the Champions League knockout stage from Group G will be decided in two weeks after Benfica beat Celtic 2-1 on Tuesday.
The result left the Portuguese and Scottish clubs level on seven points.
The deciding group matches on Dec. 5 have Benfica travelling to Barcelona and Celtic hosting Spartak.
Argentine defender Ezequiel Garay volleyed home in the 71st minute to give Benfica the win it needed to stay in the tournament following a 32nd-minute equalizer from Giorgos Samaras.
Ola John put Benfica ahead in the seventh minute.
Juventus 3, Chelsea 0
MILAN, Italy — Juventus took a giant step toward qualifying for the Champions League knockout stages with a 3-0 win over Chelsea on Tuesday.
Fabio Quagliarella and Arturo Vidal — who were both on target for Juventus in the 2-2 draw at Stamford Bridge — again scored against Chelsea.
Sebastian Giovinco sealed the result in the final minute.
Juventus hit the post in the fourth minute through Stephan Lichsteiner, who also had an effort cleared off the line by Ashley Cole.
Chelsea struggled to carve out any real opportunities, although Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon did well to deny Eden Hazard and Juan Mata.
Juventus is second in Group E, two points above Chelsea and one behind Shakhtar Donetsk, which it faces in the last group match. A draw in Ukraine would allow both teams to progress.
Shakhtar Donetsk 5, FC Nordsjaelland 2
COPENHAGEN, Denmark — A hat trick by Luiz Adriano and two goals by Willian moved Shakhtar to the top of Group E in the Champions League.
Nordsjaelland took the lead in the 24th minute through Morten Nordstrand, but Shakhtar contentiously equalized two minutes later.
Willian kicked the ball downfield after an uncontested drop ball toward Nordsjaelland's players, but Adriano took possession and rounded the goalkeeper to score with the home team watching on. The goal was given despite loud protests.
Kasper Lorentzen put Nordsjaelland ahead again in the 29th, but Willian scored from a rebound in the 44th and added another in the 50th.
Adriano scored in the 53rd and 81st.
Shakhtar leads the group with 10 points, one more than Juventus and two in front of Chelsea.
Valencia 1, Bayern Munich 1
VALENCIA, Spain — A 10-man Valencia team drew 1-1 at home against last season's finalist Bayern Munich on Tuesday, a result that sent both through to the knockout stage of the Champions League.
Valencia went down to 10 men in the 33rd minute after right back Antonio Barragan fouled David Alaba to receive a second yellow card.
Valencia midfielder Sofiane Feghouli made it 1-0 in the 77th minute with a bouncing shot into the net.
Bayern winger Thomas Mueller equalized from a loose ball in the penalty area that grazed Feghouli and went into the net in the 82nd minute.
Bayern and Valencia both have 10 points, four ahead of BATE Borisov and seven in front of Lille.
Lille 2, BATE Borisov 0
MINSK, Belarus — Lille salvaged some pride from its miserable Champions League campaign by winning away to BATE Borisov on Tuesday, although the French club failed to score enough goals to stand a chance of qualifying for the Europa League.
Lille, which lost its first four Group F matches — including a humiliating 6-1 thrashing by Bayern Munich — needed another goal to do better than BATE when it won 3-1 at Lille in September.
Right back Djibril Sidibe put Lille ahead in the 14th minute and Belgian forward Gianni Bruno scored on his Champions League debut to give Lille a comfortable lead before halftime.
BATE failed to take advantage of Sidibe's sending off in the 74th and missed late chances.
Galatasaray 1, Manchester United 0
Galatasaray remains on course to join Manchester United in the Champions League knockout phase after Burak Yilmaz secured a 1-0 victory over the already-qualified leaders on Tuesday.
Yilmaz, who headed in from a corner at the start of the second half, has scored all five goals in Group H for Galatasaray.
"We should have switched on and dealt with the ball," United defender Phil Jones said after his first appearance of the season. "We got punished on a set-piece. It's not our game. We still had chances to go on to draw."
But Galatasaray held on to remain in second place ahead of CFR Cluj on goal difference with one game remaining after the Romanian champions beat Braga 3-1.
United's run of four straight wins came to an end after manager Alex Ferguson left key players at home for the trip to the intimidating Turk Telecom Arena in Istanbul.
"I think they handled the atmosphere and the temperament was good," Ferguson said. "They handled that OK. Parts of the game were good but the area in which we were worried about — set-pieces — we suffered. That was always going to be a worry for us.
"Other than that, I was satisfied and it was a decent performance. We had some good attacking play in the first half and at that point the only trouble they gave us was from outside the box."
On his first start of the season, United midfielder Nick Powell came close to scoring in the first half, powering a header against the crossbar from Tom Cleverley's corner.
With Jones solid throughout in defence, United goalkeeper Anders Lindegaard had only one notable save to make in the first half, turning away a curling effort from Hamit Altintop.
But there was more pressure from the Turkish hosts after the break, with Lindegaard blocking Albert Riera's long-range effort and doing well to tip over Felipe Melo's firm header.
But Lindegaard was beaten in the 54th when Yilmaz found space on the edge of the six-yard box to head Selcuk Inan's corner into the net.
United has conceded the first goal in 12 out of 17 Premier League and Champions League games this season.
The crossbar ensured it wasn't a heavier loss with Altintop striking against the woodwork.
CFR Cluj 3, Braga 1
CLUJ, Romania — CFR Cluj remained in the hunt for a berth in the Champions League knockout stages with a hat trick from Rui Pedro on Tuesday.
Cluj and Galatasaray, which beat Group H winner Manchester United 1-0 at home, have seven points each.
In the last round of group matches in two weeks, Cluj visits United while Galatasaray goes to the eliminated Braga.
Pedro scored in the seventh minute off his left foot and in the 15th from a pass by Modou Sougou.
Braga replied two minutes later when Alan took a high pass from Ruben Micael and shot past goalkeeper Mario Felgueiras.
Pedro slammed his third in with his right foot from about 15 metres in the 33rd in a game in which Braga dominated possession but was let down by a weak defence.
Braga's Brazilian defender Douglas Foureira was sent off for elbowing Ionut Rada in the face in the 45th minute.