|Chelsea put on a united front against Valencia, resorting to a more defensive style of play [GALLO/GETTY]|
Didier Drogba scored two goals and set up another to help Chelsea qualify for the knockout phase of the Champions League on Tuesday as Group E winners.
The under pressure London side delivered a clinical 3-0 victory over Valencia at Stamford Bridge.
The Ivory Coast striker struck in the third minute, played in Brazil midfielder Ramires for the second in the 22nd and wrapped up victory 14 minutes from the end to demote the Spanish team from the competition into the Europa League.
Needing a victory or a scoring draw to progress at Chelsea’s expense, two-time finalists Valencia were allowed to dominate possession but were stifled by the hosts’ packed defence.
The victory meant Chelsea advanced to the last 16 for the ninth straight year, and that Bayer Leverkusen were relegated to Group E runner-up after being held to a 1-1 draw by already eliminated Racing Genk.
Tuesday December 6
Apl. Nicosia 0-2 S. Donetsk
Despite defeating Arsenal comfortably 3-1, Olympiakos missed out on making the Champions League knockout round after Marseille came from behind late on against Borussia Dortmund to steal second place.
Arsenal had already qualified from Group F as group winners.
Marseille scored twice in three minutes late in the match to advance to the last 16 after recovering from a two-goal deficit to beat Borussia Dortmund 3-2.
Marseille winger Andre Ayew levelled the game in the 85th and substitute Mathieu Valbuena notched the winner in the 87th to give Marseille second place and leave Olympiakos stunned.
Olympiakos had to settle for third place and a spot in the Europa League.
End of run
APOEL’s unbeaten streak in the Champions League ended as they lost to Shakhtar Donetsk 2-0, but they still won their group.
APOEL had already qualified for the knockout round, the first Cypriot side to do so, but they received a bonus of winning Group G despite the end of their five-match unbeaten run in group play.
|Mathieu Valbuena (C) celebrates the goal that put Marseille into the next round [EPA]|
Zenit St. Petersburg clinched second place in Group G for the first time by holding FC Porto to 0-0.
The Russian club ended the group with nine points ahead of Porto on eight, who enter the Europa competition league, which they won last season under Andre-Villas Boas.
A youthful Barcelona team without Lionel Messi, Xavi Hernandez and Andres Iniesta had little trouble beating BATE Borisov 4-0 in the Champions League, already having qualified top of Group H.
Despite coach Pep Guardiola resting those players for next week’s ‘clasico’ at Real Madrid, Barcelona stayed true to their style and dominated throughout.
Substitute Michal Duris scored in injury time to help Plzen hold AC Milan to 2-2 in their final group stage game. Milan had already qualified for the knockout stage from Group H with Barca.