x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Champions League: Barca go top, Inter draw, Arsenal stay perfect

Barcelona win 2-0 against Kiev, Arsenal beat Olympaikos by the same score and Stuttgart thrash Rangers.

Barcelona's Pedro Rodriguez (17) scores a goal against Dynamo Kiev during their Champions League match in Barcelona.
Barcelona's Pedro Rodriguez (17) scores a goal against Dynamo Kiev during their Champions League match in Barcelona.

Lionel Messi and Pedro Rodriguez scored to give Barcelona a 2-0 victory over Dynamo Kiev to go top of Group F in the Champions League on Tuesday night, as Inter drew 1-1 at Rubin Kazan. Arsenal relied on late goals from Robin van Persie and Andrei Arshavin to beat Olympakios 2-0 and keep their 100 per cent record in Group H. Standard Liege drew 1-1 with AZ Alkmaar in the other group match. Sevilla moved four points clear at the top of Group G after thrashing Rangers 4-1, while Stuttgart could only draw 1-1 at Unirea.

At the Camp Nou in Spain, Messi scored for Barcelona in the 26th minute when he received Andres Iniesta's pass and cut in from the right before delivering a powerful low shot that goalkeeper Olexandr Shovkovskiy could not keep out. Substitute Pedro doubled Barcelona's lead in the 76th with a low left-footed shot from Zlatan Ibrahimovic's pass. "It's an important win," Pedro said. "It's always important to win your home matches in the Champions League." Kiev included Andriy Shevchenko on his 33rd birthday despite a doubt over an eye injury. The striker scored a hat trick at Camp Nou in Kiev's 4-0 win in the competition 12 years ago, but there was to be no repeat.

Inter, who drew with Barca in the Group F opener, are still winless but the Italians were fortunate to leave Russia with a draw. Alejandro Dominguez gave Rubin Kazan the lead in the 11th minute, firing high into the net after beating Inter's centre back Lucio with a step over. Inter midfielder Dejan Stankovic headed the equaliser in the 27th minute. "Considering the circumstances of the game, it's a point earned," Inter's coach, Jose Mourinho, said. "Obviously we want to advance as early as possible. We drew in a game that, considering the circumstances, we could have lost." Inter had to play the last 30 minutes with 10 men after teenage forward Mario Balotelli was sent off for a second bookable offence for fouling Rubin's Christian Nobao.

Lyon, who lead Group E with a perfect six points, scored their first goal in the third minute against Debrecen when Swedish international Kim Kallstrom expertly controlled a corner and volleyed home. Miralem Pjanic scored from a free kick in the 13th, Sidney Govou made it 3-0 in the 24th and Bafetimbi Gomis completed the rout in the in the 51st. In Glasgow, Abdoulay Konko's 50th-minute header sparked a second-half goal spree as Sevilla thrashed Rangers in Group G. The 25-year-old Konko, making his competition debut, headed in Jesus Navas' free kick to break a 0-0 deadlock. Rangers' players were earlier angered because they felt a penalty should have been awarded against Konko in the first half for fouling Steven Naismith. But Sevilla ran rampant after Konko's opener, with Adriano, Luis Fabiano and Fredi Kanoute also scoring. Nacho Novo scored a late consolation goal for Rangers. The Scottish champions are bottom with one point after two matches.

In the other Group G match, Stuttgart was ahead in the fifth minute against Unirea through defender Serdar Tasci's goal. Unirea equalised three minutes into the second half when forward Dacian Varga curled the ball into the far corner. * AP