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UCL Rewind: Barcelona tops Milan to win group, APOEL through and more

MessiXavi (Getty Images)

A revenge goal, beautiful build-ups and top individual play. It's safe to say that Wednesday's UEFA Champions League's marquee matchup lived up to its billing.

Barcelona captured Group G and forced Milan into the runner-up pot for the knockout stage draw after an entertaining, 3-2 victory at the San Siro.

Mark Van Bommel's own goal gave Barcelona an early lead, but that advantage was cancelled out by Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who tallied against the Spanish power in his first meeting with Barcelona since leaving after the 2010 season.

Following a Lionel Messi penalty — which he was forced to take twice — Kevin-Prince Boateng scored off a tremendous individual effort to level the score in the 54th minute. That tie was short-lived, though, as Messi found Xavi with a pinpoint throughball to send the Spanish international in on goal for the game-winner in the 63rd minute.

Here's a recap of the rest of Wednesday's Champions League matches:


Only a delay caused by smoke from a fan-lit flare could push back perhaps the must surprising development from the UCL group stage, as APOEL Nicosia became the first team from Cyprus to qualify for the knockout round after its draw with Zenit.

With nine points, APOEL is a point clear of the Russians and two clear of Porto, who will play against each other in the final game. As a result, it doesn't matter what happens in APOEL's finale against Shakhtar Donetsk.


Hulk scored the go-ahead goal in the 79th minute, and Porto was helped by a late own goal to stay alive in its quest for the knockout stage.

With a win at home over Zenit, Porto would take at least second place in the group. A draw or loss would drop the team back to the UEFA Europa League, where it would get the consolotation prize of being able to defend its 2010-2011 title.


Another slip-up by a Premier League team has Chelsea on the verge of a shockingly early exit. Leverkusen battled back from a 1-0 deficit with goals from Eren Derdiyok and Manuel Friedrich, with the latter coming in the 90th minute to stun the Blues.

Chelsea had gone ahead through Didier Drogba just mintues into the second half, but blew the lead and now has to beat Valencia or play to a scoreless tie in the Group E finale at Stamford Bridge to advance to the knockout stage.


Robert Soldado's first-half hat trick paved the way for an embarrassing rout, one that significantly boosted the Spanish side's chances at emerging from Group E.

Jonas, Pablo, Aritz Aduriz and Alberto Costa added the other goals for Valencia, which now has the best goal differential in the group.


Robin Van Persie's incredible hot streak remained intact after scoring two more goals in a vital victory that cemented the Gunners' place atop Group F.

Van Persie was the beneficiary of a mesmerizing run by Alex Song, who crossed back to the Dutchman for the opening goal in the 49th minute. Van Persie put the game out of reach in the 86th minute, finishing off a flick from Thomas Vermaelen.

Dortmund pulled one back through Shinji Kagawa in stoppage time but ultimately could not overcome the loss of dangerous attacker Mario Goetze, who exited with an injury midway through the first half.


The Greeks got a decisive goal through Ioannis Fetfatzidis in the 82nd minute, which makes for a muddled group table heading into the final matchday.

Marseille still controls its own destiny and will qualify for the knockout round with a victory at Borussia Dortmund. Should Marseille slip up, Olympiakos would advance with a victory over Arsenal, which should be inclined to play reserves after clinching first place. Dortmund is also still alive, but faces longer odds and needs a win and for tiebreakers to go its way. 


The Group H bottom feeders have just a berth in the Europa League for which to play, and BATE Borisov let a chance to clinch that spot slip away after a home loss.

Marek Bakos' 42nd-minute goal pushed Plzen into third place heading into the group finale, in which they'll host an AC Milan team with nothing on the line. BATE goes to Camp Nou trailing Plzen by two points and needing a result over Barcelona.


What did you think of Barcelona's victory over Milan? Amazed that APOEL made it through the group stage? Impressed by Valencia's rout? Think Chelsea will still make it to the knockout round? What do you make of Van Persie's form?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Best game I’ve seen in a while. No too many teams come out and go toe to toe with Barcelona, Milan did and it made it one hell of a game.

  2. Barca plays on a different planet. The field vision and accuracy of passing is unearthly – not to mention finishing.

    Prince Boateng is as intense a player as I’ve ever seen. His goal was sick. The first touch to bring the ball down was nice, the pass to himself was great and the shot was wicked.

  3. Dear kids and young footballers, tape Barca games; then watch and study those games like the Bible. I have been watching the beautiful game for over 25 years now, the revelation that is Barcelona is unparalleled in footballing history. Follow Messi, Xabi, Fabregas, Iniesta, strive to play the beautiful game like them. This is perfection. And, yes, Messi’s assist for the game-winning goal today was sublime!!!

  4. Messi’s assist was mind-bendingly incredible. How many players in the world can even make that pass in practice let alone in a high-pressure match against AC Milan. That ball was mere inches from like 5 AC Milan players, perfectly weighted and directly onto the foot of Xavi.

    Boateng’s goal was sick.


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