Barcelona FC and AC Milan qualify to the round of 16 Knock Out Champions League
From Group H Champions League , Barcelona FC and AC Milan become 2 teams qualify to the round 16 knock out. From Praha and Dinamo Stadium were informed that Barcelona successful beat Viktoria Plzen 4 - 0. Lionel Messi hit a hat-trick as Barcelona sealed their qualification to the Champions League knockout phase with two games to spare in a comfortable 4-0 win at Viktoria Plzen. Meanwhile, AC Milan draw with Bate, 1 - 1.
Messi put the visitors two goals up in the first half, breaking the deadlock from the penalty spot in a decision which saw Marian Cisovsky issued a straight red card for preventing a clear goalscoring opportunity.
Though the plucky hosts continued to put up a fight, Cesc Fabregas made it three on 72 minutes before the Argentine wizard completed his second treble this week deep into added time.
Pep Guardiola’s side are now certain to be defending their Champions League trophy into the New Year after continuing their strong recent form including yet another clean sheet.
To the surprise of many, it was the Czech outfit who started the brightest, though they were unable to really test goalkeeper Victor Valdes who would go on to break the Barcelona clean sheet record in the 38th minute.
The home side were lucky not to give away a penalty on the 12-minute mark when Petr Jiracek appeared to catch Fabregas as the midfielder collected a pass inside the box from Dani Alves.
Plzen looked useful on the counter-attack and it almost paid off shortly after the quarter hour mark, with Milan Petrzela played past the advanced Barca back line and surging forward into a one-on-one with Valdes only for the keeper to make himself big and parry the shot.
The visitors eventually had a decision for a spot kick given their way halfway through the first half, and it was one which the referee appeared not to notice until he was prompted by his assistant.
Nonetheless, Marian Cisovsky’s foul on Messi prevented a clear goalscoring opportunity and when finally given, led to a red card for the Plzen skipper before the World Player of the Year dispatched the opener from 12 yards himself, his 200th senior goal.
Messi turned beautifully before forcing a good parry from Roman Pavlik four minutes before the break, but goal number two for both him and the Catalonians arrived deep into time added on as he completed a one-two with Adriano before firing low to all but kill off the contest.
Fabregas, on the road to recovery from a minor injury which hampered his productive start to the season, really should have converted two minutes after half-time but chipped his finish wide of the far post after good interplay with Messi.
Messi had several big chances to bag his third of the game, including at the 54-minute mark when his 20-yard free-kick was kept out of the bottom corner by Pavlik at full stretch.
Midway through the second period, the hosts’ most glorious chance went begging when an unmarked Petrzela volleyed a cross from the left wide from close range, and within 60 seconds Thiago rattled the bar for Barcelona at the opposite end.
Fabregas got himself on the scoresheet with less than 20 minutes remaining, heading home a delectable cross from Isaac Cuenca, the latest promising product of the B squad.
And after Messi scuffed a huge opportunity for his landmark goal in the final minute when he failed to connect with substitute Alexis Sanchez’s cross, he finally finished the job with 30 seconds of stoppage time to spare.
Gerard Pique, still upfield from a recent set piece, backheeled the ball perfectly onto the talisman’s run into the box, allowing him to skip around Pavlik and slot home into the empty net.
BATE Borisov earned one of the greatest results in their history when they held European against AC Milan to a 1-1 draw in their Champions League Group H clash in Minsk.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic fired Milan into the lead in the 22nd minute before Renan Bressan equalised for the Belarusian champions from the penalty spot.
The result means Milan will qualify from the group stages if Barcelona overcome Viktoria Plzen in the other pool game whilst winless BATE's chances of progression look improbable as they sit third in Group H with two points.
Ibrahimovic and Robinho were a constant threat in the first half, with Milan launching attacks from all over the park, however BATE did not roll over and gave the Italian club a tougher test than they might have expected.
Ibrahimovic showed BATE what to expect early on when he played a neat one-two on the edge of the area before firing his shot over the bar.
Milan midfielder Alberto Aquilani, who is currently on loan at the Serie A club from Liverpool, then almost opened the scoring with a 20-yard volley in the seventh minute but it just missed the right post of Aleksandr Gutor's goal.
Despite Milan's early dominance, the home side held their own and Maksim Skavysh's 20-yard shot tested former Italy international goalkeeper Christian Abbiati.
Antonio Nocerino's header was then blocked by BATE defender Artem Radkov as the seven-time European champions really started to control the play.
Ibrahimovic then went close twice in two minutes when his fierce strike deviated in the air, with Gutor doing well to punch it clear.
However, the striker finally broke the deadlock after some great play with Robinho in the 22nd minute.
Ibrahimovic dispossessed Antonio Nocerino in midfield and passed to Robinho who raced up the right wing and played the ball back to the Swede who slotted the goal across Gutor and into the back of the BATE goal.
BATE almost hit back immediately when a great delivery from Artem Kontsevoy picked out Skavysh in the six-yard box who powerfully headed the ball forced a great save from Christian Abbiati.
Milan remained a constant threat on the counter-attack, with Thiago Silva caught offside as the Serie A club looked to double their lead.
Robinho was lucky to avoid punishment when he appeared to deliberately elbow BATE defender Marko Simic in the 39th minute.
However, it seemed justice had been served moments later when the Milan striker missed a golden opportunity to score when he raced into the area and beat the entire BATE defence only to fire his shot against the post.
After the break, BATE upped the tempo and were rewarded when Milan defender Ignazio Abate leaned on Kontsevoy in the area to concede a penalty.
Bressan stepped up and fired a powerful spot-kick low into the bottom corner to beat Abbiati and level the scores in the 55th minute.
Milan almost went back in front in the 76th minute when Kevin-Prince Boateng's shot from the right byline was blocked by Gutor as both sides refused to sit back.