x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Barcelona move closer to last 16

Barca put one foot in the Champions League last 16 with a 5-0 away drubbing of Swiss side Basel.

Barcelona players celebrate after Sergi Busquets scores the second goal in a 5-0 rout of Swiss side Basel.
Barcelona players celebrate after Sergi Busquets scores the second goal in a 5-0 rout of Swiss side Basel.

BELGRADE // Barcelona put one foot in the Champions League last 16 with a 5-0 away drubbing of Swiss side Basel last night which left them as the only team with a 100 per cent record halfway through the group stage.

PSV Eindhoven chalked up their first points in the group with a 2-0 home win over Olympique Marseille, courtesy of a Danny Koevermans brace that left the 1993 European Cup winners rooted to the bottom with three defeats. An Adriano header on the stroke of half-time handed Inter Milan a 1-0 home success against Anorthosis Famagusta, leaving them firmly in the driving seat in Group B with seven points ahead of the Cypriots, who have four.

The Inter coach Jose Mourinho praised his team's professional performance that fell short of the sparkling form they showed in Sunday's 4-0 Italian league rout of Roma. "It's not been possible to play a fantastic game and have a performance like at Roma but the players have played with great professionalism," a delighted Mourinho told reporters after the game. Werder Bremen registered their third straight draw in that group after a 2-2 stalemate at Panathinaikos thanks to Hugo Almeida's 83rd-minute equaliser. The draw gave the Greek side their first point in this season's competition.

Crisp one-touch football from Barcelona tore Basel apart as Lionel Messi, Sergi Busquets and Bojan Krkic gave the 2006 winners a 3-0 lead in the opening 22 minutes. Bojan added the fourth and Xavi Fernandez completed the rout within three minutes after the interval to give Barcelona an excellent chance of securing their progress to the last 16 in the reverse fixture against the Swiss side next month.

Barca's coach Pep Guardiola hailed his team's impressive performance as important for the rest of the campaign and said the win was not as easy as it might have looked. "We will not let the result get to our heads, but it was important for the future," he said. "It is never easy and the players were always having to work and give their maximum but we did what we wanted to do, running the ball and playing well between the lines."

Chelsea dominated for long spells of their clash with Roma but were unable to create a clear-cut chance before Terry broke the deadlock in the 77th minute with a glancing header from Frank Lampard's corner. Last season's finalists have seven points in Group A, three more than Romania's CFR Cluj, who went down 1-0 at Bordeaux thanks to a 54th-minute own goal by Cadu. The French side and Roma have three points each.

The evening's eight matches produced 17 goals in total, less than a half of Tuesday night's record-equalling tally of 36. *Reuters

Atletico Madrid 1 Liverpool 1 Basle 0 Barcelona 5 Bordeaux 1 CFR Cluj-Napoca 0 Chelsea 1 Roma 0 Inter Milan 1 Anorthosis Famagusta 0 Panathinaikos 2 Werder Bremen 2 PSV 2 Marseille 0 Shakhtar Donetsk 0 Sporting 1