Bayern, Real and Chelsea progress in Champions League

Bayern, Real and Chelsea progress in Champions League

Bayern Munich and Chelsea booked their places in the knockout phases of the Champions League Wednesday with victories while Real Madrid also ensured their progress despite only drawing with AC Milan, DPA reported.

The Spanish giants looked to be well on the road to victory when Gonzalo Higuain put them ahead at the Giuseppe Meazza against Milan but a brace from veteran Filippo Inzaghi put the visitors on the back foot before Pedro Leon secured a 2-2 draw in injury-time.

Real now have 10 points from four games in Group G, five clear of Milan and six ahead of Ajax who went down 2-1 to Auxerre.

"We were a bit unfortunate but in the end we have to be satisfied," said Real midfielder Mesut Oezil. "We played very well as a team and deservedly took a point."

Last year's beaten finalists Bayern eased into the knockout stages with a comfortable 4-0 victory away to Romanian side CFR Cluj.

Mario Gomez netted a hat-trick and Thomas Mueller added a fourth to assure the German champions of one of the qualifying spots from Group E with a maximum 12 points from four games.

"We have been improving in our last games," said Bayern coach Louis van Gaal after seeing his side become the first German team to win their opening four group games in the Champions League.

"It was a terrific match and Mario Gomez scored three goals, so that is wonderful. I have changed the system a bit for him and he is scoring."

AS Roma, who face Bayern in their next group game, sit second on six points after winning 3-2 away to Swiss side Basel in a match watched by Roger Federer.

Jeremy Menez put the Italians ahead after 16 minutes and Francesco Totti looked to have secured the win nine minutes later when making it 2-0 from the penalty spot.

However in a frantic finale, Alexander Frei reduced the deficit with a header 21 minutes from time. Leandro Greco restored Roma's two-goal cushion on 76 minutes but Xherdan Shaqiri pulled the score back to 3-2 seven minutes from time to ensure a nervous ending for the Serie A side.

Chelsea are guaranteed qualification from Group F after a strong second-half goal performance saw them cruise to a 4-1 win over Spartak Moscow.

The sides went in level at the break but there was only going to be one winner once Nicolas Anelka opened the scoring four minutes after the restart after a neat exchange with Salomon Kalou.

Didier Drogba made it 2-0 to the English champions from the penalty spot after the Ivorian striker was fouled by Evgeni Makeev in the box with Branislav Ivanovic ending the match as a contest with an unstoppable header midway through the second half.

Nikita Bazhenov scored a late consolation for Spartak but there was still time for Ivanovic to net his second of the evening to make it 4-1.

"We've qualified for the knockout stages, now we have to make sure we finish top of the group," said Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti. "It was a good evening and a good performance."

Marseille remain firmly in contention for the second qualifying spot after a 7-0 demolition of Slovak side MSK Zilina.

Andre Pierre Gignac netted a hat-trick for Marseille, Lucho Gonzalez scored a brace while Gabriel Heinze and Loic Remy also got on the scoresheet for the French side.

The result is only one goal short of the Champions League record under its current format of 8-0 set by four clubs: Liverpool, Kosice, Partizan and Dynamo Kiev.

Chelsea top the group with 12 points, six clear of Spartak and Marseille, who meet in the Russian capital in their next match.

Arsenal's hopes of securing top spot in Group H took a knock as they went down 2-1 to Ukrainian side Shakhtar Donetsk to leave both sides tied at the top on nine points.

The visitors got off to the perfect start when Theo Walcott fired home from 20 metres after just 10 minutes. However, the sides were level 18 minutes later when Dmytro Chygrynski's goal-bound header came off the head of Craig Eastmond and flew into the Arsenal net.

Former Gunners striker Eduardo then put Shakhtar ahead just before half-time with a cool finish after latching on to a cross from Darijo Srna.

In the other group game Partizan Belgrade beat Sporting Braga 1-0 courtesy of a Moises header to leave both sides on three points.

Weekly actual topics in Azerbaijan (April 16-20)
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