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Friday, Oct. 21, 2011

Barcelona sets club record in victory over Viktoria Plzen

AP

LONDON — Barcelona eased past Viktoria Plzen with a 2-0 victory in the Champions League on Wednesday while Chelsea turned on the style in a 5-0 rout of Genk.

Goals from Andres Iniesta and David Villa against Czech champion Plzen helped Barcelona to a club-record 13th match unbeaten at the start of the season.

The holders stayed level at the top of Group H with AC Milan after the Italian champions beat BATE Borisov 2-0.

Chelsea secured its biggest Champions League win in 12 years and Fernando Torres opened his European account for the Group E leaders with two goals against Genk, while Bayer Leverkusen fought back to beat Valencia 2-1.

Premier League rival Arsenal relied on a stoppage time goal from Aaron Ramsey to win 1-0 at Marseille and topple the French side from the Group F summit, while Olympiakos climbed off the bottom with a 3-1 victory over Borussia Dortmund.

The Group G games both ended in draws, with Cypriot champion APOEL maintaining its surprising start by holding Porto 1-1 to stay top, a point ahead of Zenit St. Petersburg, which drew 2-2 at Shakhtar Donetsk.

At Nou Camp, Barcelona had 78 percent of the possession but failed to make it count with a bigger victory margin.

"The ball just didn't want to go in the net today . . . we shot 16 times and could have won 5-0," Villa said. "But our defensive effort was also important and that's where we played at a top level."

Iniesta scored after 10 minutes when he combined with Lionel Messi before deftly evading his marker and sliding the ball inside the near post.

Villa finally sealed the win in the 81st when he fired in a shot after Messi had lost the ball inside the area.

Milan, though, has the edge in Group H still after drawing its opening match at Barcelona.

At San Siro Stadium, Zlatan Ibrahimovic set Milan on its way to a comfortable win over Belarusian champion BATE, by unleashing a fierce shot from the edge of the area in the 33rd. Kevin-Prince Boateng blasted in a second with 20 minutes to go off the underside of the crossbar.

The biggest win of the night came at Stamford Bridge, with Torres making it four goals in four games as he finally looks like the £50 million (then $81 million) striker Chelsea signed in January.

The scoring was opened, though, in the eighth minute by Raul Meireles, who claimed his first Chelsea goal since following Torres from Liverpool in August.

Torres curled home the ball into the bottom corner three minutes later after being fed by Frank Lampard.

The Spain striker's second goal against Belgian champion Genk came when he got in front of his marker to head home from Meireles' cross.

"You could see his hunger to be on the pitch and to score goals," Chelsea manager Andre Villa-Boas said of Torres. "It was just unlucky he couldn't get the third."

Instead, Branislav Ivanovic headed in the fourth before halftime from Florent Malouda's free kick and Salomon Kalou completed the rout after the break.

Bayer Leverkusen remains second after Andre Schuerrle and Sidney Sam scored second-half goals to wipe out Jonas' strike for Valencia.

"We wanted to come out fighting in the second half and give everything to turn the match," Sam said. "And we did it."

In Marseille, Arsenal left it late to secure a second successive Group F win.

An unmarked Ramsey controlled a cross from Johan Djourou that eluded the Marseille defense to bury the ball past goalkeeper Steve Mandanda in the second minute of stoppage time.

Olympiakos had no such difficulties disposing of Dortmund after Jose Holebas' opener for the Greek champions was canceled out by Mario Goetze. Rafik Djebbour and Francois Modesto netted either side of the break.

Fans at Karaiskaki Stadium chanted slogans against Germany's role in the European bailout of near-bankrupt Greece.

In Portugal, Brazilian strikers got both goals at the Stadium of the Dragon to leave Group G wide open. Ailton canceled out Hulk's goal for Porto to give APOEL five points after three matches.

Porto is on four points with Zenit, which came from behind twice to draw at Shakhtar Donetsk, which is bottom with two points.

Roman Shirokov first canceled out Willian's curling shot for Ukrainian champion Shakhtar, which regained the lead through Luiz Adriano before halftime. Roman Faizulin chipped in Zenit's second leveler on the hour.



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