By JOHN BOSCHINI
Lionel Messi took another step towards becoming the most prolific goal-scorer in Barcelona's history as the 24-year-old striker scored his 200th, 201st and 202nd goal for the club.
Messi's clinical penalty kick was the opening goal in Barcelona's straight-forward 4-0 victory over Viktoria Plezen as the defending champions officially booked a place in the knockout rounds and take pole position in Group H.
Messi drew the penalty in the 22nd minute with a cutback inside the box and was fouled by Marian Cisovsky. Cisovsky was show a red card and Messi sent Roman Pavlik the wrong way on the ensuing spot kick. Messi's second came in first-half stoppage time with a left-footed shot from the center of the penalty area. Cesc Fabregas added a third with a close-range header before Messi completed his hat trick just before the final whistle.
The only concern for Barcelona will be the suspension of Dani Alves for the upcoming match with AC Milan. The Brazilian left back picked up a yellow card in the 49th minute.
Here is a look back at the other Champions League results.
CHELSEA 1, RACING GENK 1
Chelsea's poor run of form could be reaching crisis levels as Andres Villas-Boas' side were held by tiny Genk. Ramires opened the scoring in the 25th minute with a nice combination with Fernando Torres for his first goal in Champions League play. Chelsea should have doubled their lead but defender David Luiz failed to convert from the penalty spot.
Genk equalized after a stretch of dominating Chelsea with Jelle Vossen scoring in the 61st minute. It was the first goal in the Champions League for the Belgians. Chelsea proceeded to waste a host of chances in the final half-hour, the most egregious of which was Frank Lampard putting a simple tap-in from three yards out wide.
VALENCIA 3, BAYER LEVERKUSEN 1
It didn't take long for Valencia to jump on Bayer Leverkusen as Jonas put the Spanish side up after just 11 seconds. Jonas pounced on a poor clearance from Bernd Leno to score the second-fastest goal in Champions League history. Stefan Kiebling equalized before halftime for Leverkusen but goals from Roberto Soldado and Adil Rami gave Valencia the victory.
ARSENAL 0, MARSEILLE 0
Arsenal are still in good position to advance into the knockout stages after a scoreless draw. Both teams had chances but failed to convert as Robin van Persie was again used as a substitute. Marseille and Arsenal are in good position at the top of Group F but must wait at least another matchday to secure advancement.
BORUSSIA DORTMUND 1, OLYMPIAKOS 0
The defending Bundesliga Champions salvaged their hopes of progression with a gritty 1-0 victory over Olumpiakos. Kevin Grosskreutz scored within the first 10 minutes and Dortmund's defense made the goal hold up.
ZENIT ST. PETERSBURG 1, SHAKHTAR DONETSK 0
Nicolas Lombaerts' header just before halftime gave Zenit St. Petersburg a narrow victory and move them top of Group G. Overall, a 1-0 scoreline flatter Shakhtar, who were out-shot 19-5 with Shakhtar registering only one shot on target.
BATE BORISOV 1, AC MILAN 1
Renan Bressan converted a penalty midway through the second half to salvage a point for Bate Borisov. Ignazio Abate committed a foul inside the box to allow Bressan to beat Christian Abbiati to the bottom corner. The penalty canceled out Zlatan Ibrahimovic's goal as the Swede and Robinho combined on the counter-attack.
APOEL NICOSIA 2, FC PORTO 1
Apoel Nicosia continued their surprising Champions League run with a late winner from Gustavo Manduca as the Cypriot champions remain unbeaten in Europe. Hulk's penalty in the 89th seemed to salvage a draw for the Portuguese but Manduca's close-range strike sealed the victory.
What did you think of today's results? Is Messi Barcelona's best player of all time? Surprised by Chelsea's draw? How far can Apoel Nicosia go?
Share your thoughts below.