UEFA Champions League 2013: Arsenal get massive win; Barcelona, Atletico clinch

Martin Rose

Arsenal somehow won at the Westfalenstadion, while Barcelona and Atletico Madrid are into the knockout stages.

There are just two match days of UEFA Champions League group stage action left after Wednesday's action, and the knockout stages are beginning to take shape. Two more teams clinched places in the knockout stages, while other clubs also put themselves in positions to wrap up round of 16 spots on the next match day.

Chelsea 3-0 Schalke

Chelsea and Schalke entered Wednesday level on six points atop Group E, so the winner would take a stranglehold of the group. Well, Chelsea has a stranglehold and a statement to boot. The Blues absolutely throttled Schalke, scoring 31 minutes in when Timo Hildebrand made a hilarious error that allowed Smauel Eto'o to score and pouring it on the rest of the match. Eto'o added a second goal after the break then Demba Ba got in on the action in the 83rd minute and the Blues had three points.

Full match report here.

Basel 1-1 Steaua Bucharest

Basel will rue their missed chance. With Schalke losing, all Basel had to do was win to take second place in Group E, but instead all they could manage was a draw and a fortunate one at that. Federico Piovaccari put Steaua in front and it looked like that would hold up, but Giovanni Sio's stoppage time goal rescued Basel to at least earn them a point. Now the Swiss side sits just one point back of Schalke for second place, although they do have to travel to Gelsenkirchen on the final match day.

Borussia Dortmund 0-1 Arsenal

For much of the match, Dortmund were completely dominant. They had all of the ball and all of the chances, only to be denied by poor finishing, bad luck, the offside flag or Wojciech Szczesny, but still a goal always seemed inevitable. Then Aaron Ramsey turned the match on its head with a goal out of nowhere and with it, Arsenal had nicked a win at the Westfalenstadion. It wasn't pretty, but it was good enough to move joint top of Group F with Napoli, three points clear of Dortmund.

Full match report here.

Napoli 3-2 Olympique Marseille

There is no room for error in Group F with Arsenal, Dortmund and Napoli all battling it out for two places in the knockout stages, and at times on Wednesday, it looked like Napoli might slip up, but Gonzalo Higuaiin ensured they didn't.  Andre Ayew put Marseille up early, only for Gokhan Iner to equalize with a sublime volley. Then Higuain got in on the action, putting Napoli in front, and when Florian Thauvin brought Marseille level, Higuain tallied again to ensure Napoli would take all three points. Now Napoli find themselves on top of Group F, but with matches against Arsenal and Dortmund left, they still have plenty of work left to do.

Atletico Madrid 4-0 Rapid Vienna

It took all off 11 minutes for Miranda to put Atletico in front and by halftime it was 3-0 thanks to goals by Raul Garcia and Filipe Luis. Then Diego Costa added a tally of his own late and it was all but a party for the home side. Rapid Vienna were completely overwhelmed as Atletico ran circles around them at the Calderon to take a seven-point lead atop Group G and clinch first place.

Ajax 1-0 Celtic

Celtic entered the day with a chance to nip Milan out for second place in Group H, but that almost certainly required they beat bottom feeders Ajax and not only did they not win, they lost. They couldn't even manage a draw as Lasse Schone's 51st minute strike sunk the Bhoys and earned Ajax their first win of the Champions League. Now Celtic are two points back of Milan and while they do host the rossoneri, their trip to Barcelona on the last match day will likely doom them.

Barcelona 3-1 AC Milan

Barcelona looked to be going about things at half speed for much of the match and yet AC Milan still couldn't put the ball in the net. Sergio Busquets scored one, while Lionel Messi tallied twice and Gerard Pique put the ball in his own net as Barcelona dominated at the Camp Nou to clinch a spot in the knockout stages.

Full match report here.

Zenit St. Petersburg 1-1 Porto

Both Zenit and Porto hoped to pick up a win on Wednesday that would help separate them from the other in the race for second place in Group G, but Lucho Gonzalez's 23rd minute goal was canceled out by Hulk five minutes later and the two teams had to settle for a draw. The result keeps Zenit a point ahead of Porto for second place and leaves the two to battle for the group's second qualifying place in the final two match days.

Full match report here.

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