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Dec 9, 2009

Barca and Inter go through

Barcelona and Inter Milan both qualified for the knockout stage of the Champions League on Wednesday night but were taken to the final round of matches by their Group F rivals.

• Jon Carter: Arsenal kids lack edge

Ballon d'Or winner Lionel Messi scored the winner for Barcelona as the defending European champions won 2-1 at Dynamo Kiev and secured top spot in the group.

Dynamo took an early lead when Barca goalkeeper Victor Valdes spilled a header from Artem Milevskiy after just two minutes but Xavi levelled for the La Liga side.

Goals from Internazionale strikers Samuel Eto'o and Mario Balotelli gave the Italian champions a 2-0 win over Rubin Kazan at the San Siro.

Balotelli provided strike partner Eto'o with the opening goal in the 31st minute and then smashed in a 35-yard freekick after the break to secure a comfortable victory.

Three goals within the first 11 minutes helped Stuttgart beat Unirea Urziceni 3-1 in Group G to leapfrog the Romanian champions into the knockout phase.

Stuttgart took the lead on five minutes when Ciprian Marica headed in from close range. Christian Traesch doubled the lead before Russian international Pavel Pogrebnyak killed the game off after just 11 minutes. Antonio Semedo pulled a goal back for Unirea.

Sevilla won the Group G after beating Rangers 1-0 at the Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan. The Spaniards dominated the game but only Frederic Kanouté's eighth minute penalty seperated the sides in the end.

Liverpool's Champions League campaign ended with a whimper rather than a bang as they lost 2-1 at home to Group E winners Fiorentina.

Yossi Benayoun's glancing header gave his side the lead shortly before half-time only for Martin Jorgensen to equalise with a low left-footed shot in the 63rd minute and Alberto Gilardino to snatch a winner two minutes into added time.

Olympique Lyon crushed Debrecen 4-0 with two goals in each half at the Stade de Gerland but still finished as runners up to Fiorentina.

Striker Bafetimbi Gomis opened the scoring on 25 minutes, Brazilian midfielder Michel Bastos doubled the advantage before the break and Miralem Pjanic made it 3-0 on the hour before defender Aly Cissokho wrapped it up with a powerful shot from the edge of the box.

Arsene Wenger's brave young Arsenal side went down 1-0 to Olympiakos in Athens but had already qualified as winners of Group H before kick-off.

Leonardo's goal at the start of the second half proved enough for victory, which puts the Greeks through to the knockout stages as runners-up.

Standard Liege secured third place and qualified for the Europa League thanks to a last-gasp equaliser from goalkeeper Sinan Bolat in a 1-1 home draw against AZ Alkmaar. The Dutch visitors had taken a first-half lead through Jeremain Lens, but the final word went to the 'keeper who rose highest from a late corner to head the ball into the top corner.

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