Champions League: Lionel Messi return lifts Barcelona into knockout rounds
Notches pair of goals in rout vs. Roma; Arsenal shows signs of life
Lionel Messi scored his first two goals after a two-month injury layoff and Luis Suarez netted a brace in a 6-1 rout of Roma on Tuesday as Barcelona advanced to the Champions League knockout rounds for a 12th consecutive season.
Suarez got Barcelona rolling at Camp Nou in the 15th minute. Three minutes later Messi scored his first goal in his second appearance since returning from a left-knee injury.
Messi netted the hosts' fifth after Suarez and Gerard Pique scored. Adriano capped the demolition before Edin Dzeko got Roma's consolation.
"Mess is the best and I feel very happy for him for his goals and because he played the entire match," Suarez said. "We played a perfect game."
Barcelona had already qualified for the next phase before kickoff after Bayer Leverkusen was held 1-1 at BATE Borisov, but the victory secured the defending champions the top spot in Group E with a game to spare.
Sanchez boosts Arsenal
Alexis Sanchez kept Arsenal's Champions League campaign alive with a pair in a 3-0 victory over Dynamo Zagreb as Group G leader Bayern Munich assisted the London club by beating Olympiakos on Tuesday.
Arsenal can qualify for the knockout phase by winning at Olympiakos next month by at least two goals, or by scoring four. Arsenal is third, three points behind Olympiakos.
Although Arsenal was depleted by injuries, a repeat of September's 2-1 loss to Zagreb rarely seemed likely at Emirates Stadium.
Responding to the Champions League lifeline being provided by Bayern's early goals, Mesut Ozil headed Arsenal in front half an hour in from Alexis Sanchez's cross.
Provider turned scorer four minutes later when Alexis tapped in, and he added another in the second half.
FC Porto upset
Dynamo Kyiv upset FC Porto 2-0 on Tuesday to leave its Champions League Group G wide open with one game left to play.
Goals in each half from Andriy Yarmolenko and Derlis Gonzalez won the tie for the visitors.
Porto's first defeat of the season left it level at the top with Chelsea on 10 points, with Dynamo on eight and Maccabi Tel-Aviv yet to register a point.
Dynamo, trying to avoid its 11th straight group exit since it last advanced 16 years ago, was on the ropes for the first 20 minutes but rebounded and went ahead through Yarmolenko's 35th-minute penalty. Paraguayan striker Gonzalez extended the visitor's lead after a solo run in the 64th.
Gent wins at Lyon
Striker Kalifa Coulibaly scored in the fifth minute of injury time as Gent won 2-1 at Lyon on Tuesday to maintain its chances of qualifying for the knockout stages of the Champions League.
Lyon failed to properly clear a corner and Coulibaly nodded home from close range to punish a lacklustre Lyon side that led through midfielder Jordan Ferri's seventh-minute goal.
The Belgian side equalized in the 32nd minute through Danijel Milicevic's cleverly-worked free-kick.
The win moves Gent onto seven points and above Valencia into second place in Group H behind Zenit St. Petersburg — which beat Spanish side Valencia 2-0 in the group's other match.
Gent can guarantee qualification by beating already-qualified Zenit at home on Dec. 9. Lyon's one point sees it miss a Europa League berth.