Thu, Nov 29, 2007 - Page 20 News List

CLB: Barcelona, Inter Milan, Roma and Sevilla all guaranteed

AFP , PARIS

Barcelona, Inter Milan, Roma and Sevilla all guaranteed their places in the knock-out stages of the Champions League after the penultimate round of games in Europe's elite club competition on Tuesday.

The quartet join the already-qualified Arsenal and Manchester United from groups E and H.

The two other qualifying spots from that side of the competition will be decided in the final round of pool games on Dec. 12, with Fenerbahce and PSV Eindhoven battling for second place in Group G and Rangers hosting Lyon in a Group E showdown.

Barcelona were made to work hard for their 2-2 draw in Lyon, the home side twice coming from behind to draw level.

A goal for each team inside the first seven minutes set the tone for a high-tempo match which also featured two second-half penalties for either side.

Andres Iniesta gave the Catalans the lead, but Juninho equalized four minutes later with a 30m free-kick that went high and missed all of its targets, but bounced over the diving Victor Valdes into the goal.

Barca again took the lead with a Lionel Messi penalty in the 58th minute after the Argentinian was fouled by Sebastien Squillaci as he strode towards goal.

But with 10 minutes remaining Lyon were given a lifeline as the referee pointed to the penalty spot for an Eric Abidal foul on Abdul Kader Keita.

Juninho's effort wrong-footed Valdes and leveled the scores at 2-2 in the 79th minute.

Lyon will now travel to Ibrox to face Rangers, who went down 3-2 to Stuttgart but are ahead of the French team on goal difference and need only a draw to qualify.

Ciprian Marica gave Stuttgart their first victory and their first points of the tournament with his 85th minute winner, poking in Ludovic Magnin's cross to settle a pulsating match.

Substitute Charlie Adam had put Rangers ahead with his first touch of the ball in the 27th minute, but Cacau brought Stuttgart level with a cheeky backheel in first-half stoppage time.

Stuttgart's Mexican international Pavel Pardo scored with a second-half thunderbolt from 20m, but Barry Ferguson capitalized on lapses in the German defense to equalize before Marica's strike.

Inter Milan secured top spot in group G with a 3-0 victory over Fenerbahce at the San Siro.

An own-goal from Edu, a clever finish from Zlatan Ibrahimovic and a late clincher from Luis Antonio Jimenez lit up an otherwise dull affair.

The three points mean that Inter have 12 points from five games and cannot be caught, while Fenerbahce, second on eight points, will be feeling uneasy following PSV Eindhoven's 1-0 win at CSKA Moscow, which moved them up to seven points. CSKA are out of contention with just one point.

Fenerbahce host the Russians in two weeks' time while PSV entertain Inter in matches that will decide who claims second spot in the group.

Inter's Serie A rivals Roma made sure of their qualification with a 4-1 routing of winless Dynamo Kiev in Group F.

Roma's Montenegran striker Mirko Vucinic, who is deputizing for injured club captain Francesco Totti, netted a double while veteran defender Christian Panucci and Ludovic Giuly added one apiece.

Guinean striker Ismael Bangoura scored a second-half consolation goal for the home side.

Manchester United winger Cristiano Ronaldo hit a stoppage-time stunner that clinched a 2-1 win over Sporting Lisbon that ensured the English side will finish top of Roma's group.

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