Barcelona qualified for the knockouts of the Champions League with a 3-1 win over Borussia Dortmund on Thursday Leading the way was star striker Lionel Messi, who in his 700th match for the club, featured with one goal and two assists. However, it was Luis Suarez, who opened the scoring in the 31st minute, before Messi and Antoine Griezmann made netted in the 33rd and 67th minute.
“Our first objective was to qualify as group winners but we also wanted to show a real improvement in our play,” said Suarez. “We relaxed a bit in the second half and hung on to our lead but we should still leave here feeling very happy.”
Chelsea and Liverpool played out draws in their respective matches. The Blues will have to wait for their qualification in the Round of 16 after a freak late goal by Valencia’s Daniel Wass earned them a 2-2 draw.
“We nearly won it, nearly lost it. It was end to end, not that we wanted it to be,” Chelsea boss Frank Lampard said.
Valencia coach Albert Celades added: “The sensation in our dressing room is that we have missed a very good chance to qualify for the next round. But to get to the last game with our fate in our hands is not bad.”
At Anfield, Liverpool and Napoli ended a 1-1, making the qualification equation stiff for both teams. Dries Mertens had put Napoli in front before Dejan Lovren headed a goal in the 65th minute.
“In [the Napoli] dressing room they feel like they are already through and maybe they are,” said Klopp. “Everybody here thinks, ‘Oh my god, it will be tough’ and it will be tough, that much is clear.”
Lautaru Martinez and Romelu Lukaku boosted Inter Milan’s chances of qualifying for the final 16 with a 3-1 win over Slavia Prague. Martinez scored in the 19th minute which was negated by Tomas Soucek’s penalty equaliser. In the final 10 minutes, Lukaku scored the 250th goal of his career, before the lead was doubled by Martinez two minutes before the whistle.
Inter are in the second qualification spot in Group F with one game left.