Ivory Coast international strikers Didier Drogba and Arouna Kone both scored crucial goals for their teams Chelsea and PSV Eindhoven on Tuesday in their respective Champions League clashes.
Drogba, who has been a player transformed this season in contrast to record signing Andriy Shevchenko, struck in stoppage time with the goal that virtually ensures the Premiership champions will progress to the second round in a breathless 2-2 draw with bitter rivals Barcelona.
A typically robust encounter saw 10 players booked and the pressure on Barca coach Frank Rijkaard increased as the holders edged nearer the humiliation of being eliminated -- Werder Bremen's 3-0 defeat of kicking boys Levski Sofia took the Germans two points clear of the Spanish giants.
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has made few friends in other English Premiership clubs and he will have perhaps had his night a little soured by the news Liverpool -- who controversially put Chelsea out two seasons ago in the semi-finals -- wrapped up their place in the last 16 with a facile 3-0 win over a pretty ordinary Bordeaux side.
Kone produced his second successive match-winning performance in PSV's 2-0 away win at Galatasaray to join fellow Group C rivals Liverpool in the last 16 -- the Turkish side not being helped in their cause by Stjepan Tomas being sent off in the 38th minute.
Barca's upset was Valencia's joy as the Catalan giant's Spanish league rivals fought back to earn their place in the next round with a 2-2 draw away at Ukrainian outfit Shakhtar Donetsk -- Fernando Morientes once again illustrating that English life did not suit him when he failed at Liverpool as he scored his fourth of the campaign.
German champions Bayern Munich also ensured they went through, though, the less said about their 0-0 draw at home to Sporting Lisbon the better -- highlighted by Bayern's disciplinarian coach Felix Magath saying it was their worst performance so far.
The two Italian clubs involved on Tuesday edged closer to the last 16 as Inter Milan beat Spartak Moscow 1-0 -- Argentine Julio Cruz adding to the brace he scored against the same opposition a fortnight ago -- to put themselves on six points, though just one ahead of Sporting Lisbon, who they play on Nov. 22.
However, AS Roma look far more assured of a place in the knockout stages as their talismanic captain Francesco Totti overcame missing a penalty to score the equalizer that gave the Italian side a hard-earned 1-1 draw at home to Greek side Olympiakos.
Mourinho was very proud of his players after their deserved draw with Barcelona but as is usual with the Portuguese maestro he could not stop himself from having a go at his opposite number, Rijkaard.
"Frank [Rijkaard] is a very lucky man as he has a lot of stars, so his players are protected by the referee. I would love to be in his position. I am not going to complain about the referee as it is not easy for him because the Barcelona players are always diving," Mourinho said.
Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez hit out at Fernando Menegazzo after the Bordeaux defender was sent off for head-butting John Arne Riise during Tuesday's game at Anfield
Riise was forced to leave the pitch with blood pouring from a head wound following the incident midway through the second half.