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Chelsea, Roma and Panathinaikos reach last 16

Wednesday, December 10, 2008 , Posted by Linda at 10:21 AM

Wed, Dec 10 05:26 AM

Didier Drogba became Chelsea's top scorer in the Champions League with his 19th goal in the competition that sealed a 2-1 win over CFR Cluj on Tuesday and sent last season's beaten finalists through to the last 16.

Ivory Coast striker Drogba, who has had a torrid season marred by injuries and suspension, sent Chelsea into the knockout phase for the sixth successive season with a 71st-minute winner.

Drogba produced a clinical finish after Yssouf Kone had cancelled out Salomon Kalou's opener.

"It's important for me to have (Drogba) as he is one of the best in the world and with him I have more options but I have to say that (Nicolas) Anelka is also important," Chelsea manager Luiz Felipe Scolari said.

"He had no pre-season, got injured, came back, injured again, suspended, what cam I do? Now I pray for no more injuries and maybe I can put two strikers together."

The result also completed a clean sweep for English teams in the group stage as Chelsea, who finished runners-up in Group A, joined holders Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool in the knockout stage which starts in February.

AS Roma joined Chelsea in the last 16 as the Group A winners after classy second-half goals from Matteo Brighi and Francesco Totti secured a 2-0 home win over Girondins Bordeaux.

Brighi scored from close range after a good run and cross by Simone Perrotta and Totti drilled in the second with the outside of his foot from a superb through ball from Jeremy Menez.


Greek side Panathinaikos secured the final available berth in the knockout stage after Giorgos Karagounis scored to give them a 1-0 win over Cypriot rivals Anorthosis Famagusta in a tense affair.

Karagounis picked up a loose ball after a defensive blunder on the edge of the penalty box and his shot somehow trickled under keeper Zoltan Nagy and over the line.

The result also lifted Panathinaikos to the top of Group B above former winners Inter Milan, who face potentially difficult opposition in the last 16 after a 2-1 defeat at Werder Bremen.

"Now we deserve one of the strongest teams," Inter coach Jose Mourinho told Sky. "Manchester United, the champions, or Barcelona, currently the best in Europe, to really judge our potential in the Champions League."

It was a vital win for Bremen, who leapfrogged Anorthosis to book a consolation berth in the UEFA Cup last 32 available to the eight third-placed teams.

Five-times winners Liverpool won Group D after coming from behind to beat PSV Eindhoven 3-1 and finish ahead of Atletico Madrid, who were held to a 0-0 draw at Olympique Marseille.

Ryan Babbel, Albert Riera and David N'Gog struck for Liverpool after Danko Lazovic had given the home side brief hope of reaching the UEFA Cup knockout stage.

"I am really pleased finishing top of the group but also to see how a lot of young players performed on this stage," said Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez.

Barcelona, who had already won Group C, were beaten 3-2 at home by Shakhtar Donetsk after fielding an understrength side while also qualified Sporting Lisbon enjoyed a 1-0 success at Swiss side Basel.

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