Barcelona through to last 16 of the European Champions League
Lionel Messi nets treble in 4-0 win over Czech champions Viktoria Plzen
AC Milan also go through from Group H despite 1-1 draw in Belarus
English clubs Arsenal and Chelsea fail to progress after also being held
Lionel Messi scored his second hat-trick in four days as titleholders Barcelona marched into the knockout stage of the European Champions League on a night of milestones for the Spanish club on Tuesday.
The striker, a big favorite to win his third world player of the year award after heading the 2011 nominations before the match against Viktoria Plzen, passed a double century of goals for Barca to mark coach Josep Guardiola’s 200th match in charge.
The Czech champions capitulated to a 4-0 home defeat in the Group H game after having Marian Cisovsky sent off for a foul in the box on Messi, who scored the resulting penalty to open the scoring in the 24th minute with his milestone goal.
The Argentine made it 2-0 in the second minute of first-half injury-time after combining with Adriano, and he sealed the rout in stoppage time after a superb backheel pass from central defender Gerard Pique set him free for his 202nd.
Barca’s third came in the 72nd minute when Cesc Fabregas – among eight Barca players in the 23-man FIFA Ballon d’Or Shortlist – headed home a cross by young winger Isaac Cuenca.
Guardiola became only the fifth Barca boss to reach 200 games, suffering just 17 defeats. Messi has scored 160 of the 500 goals netted in that period.
The clean sheet meant that Barcelona goalkeeper Victor Valdes set a new club record of 877 minutes without conceding, beating the previous mark set by Miguel Reina in 1973.
The win gave Barca 10 points from four games, leaving the Catalans two clear of second-placed AC Milan with two rounds to play.
The Italian champions went through to the second round despite being held 1-1 by BATE Borisov in Belarus in an earlier kickoff.
Milan went into the match denying reports that hospitalized striker Antonio Cassano had suffered a stroke.
“I think every patient has the right to privacy, the doctors are working on it and there’s nothing more to say,” chief executive Adriano Galliani told the club’s website.
“I spoke to him today and he seemed in good form. There was of course a bit of fear because the whole thing was so unexpected.”
Milan took the lead in the 22nd minute through striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who won possession out wide on the right and then burst into the box to receive Robinho’s pass and score.
But Borisov leveled 10 minutes after halftime with a penalty by Renan Bressan when Ignazio Abate fouled Artem Kontsevoy.
Chelsea missed the chance to go through in Group E after being held to a 1-1 draw by Genk in Belgium, as David Luiz missed a penalty for the visitors.
Captain John Terry was left on the bench after UK police confirmed he faces a formal investigation into claims the defender racially abused Queen’s Park Rangers’ Anton Ferdinand.
The London team, beaten 5-3 by Arsenal at the weekend, took a 26th-minute lead through Ramires but fellow Brazilian Luiz saw his spot-kick saved five minutes before the break.
Jelle Vossen leveled just after the hour to leave Chelsea on eight points, and Genk on bottom with two.
Second-placed Bayer Leverkusen remained on six points after losing 3-1 at Valencia, who are a point further back following the second-fastest goal in Champions League history.
Jonas netted just after 10 seconds, but Stefan Kiessling equalized on the half hour. However, Roberto Soldado (65) and Adil Rami (75) kept the Spanish side’s hopes alive ahead of the final two games.
Group F leaders Arsenal also failed to qualify for the last 16 after being held to a 0-0 draw at home to Marseille.
The French side remained one point behind Arsenal, who have two wins and two draws.
German champions Borussia Dortmund moved off the bottom with a 1-0 win over Greek club Olympiakos.
Kevin Grosskreutz scored the only goal in the seventh minute with a spectacular strike to put Dortmund within three points of Marseille ahead of the trip to Arsenal on November 23.
Group G was blown wide open when unfancied Cypriot side Apoel Nicosia shocked Europa League winners Porto 2-1 to stay top of the table.
Ailton put the home side ahead three minutes before halftime with a penalty, but fellow Brazilian Hulk leveled from the spot for the Portuguese champions in the 89th minute.
However, Gustavo Manduca headed a last-gasp winner to put Apoel a point clear of Zenit St. Petersburg.
The Russian champions won 1-0 against Ukraine’s Shakhtar Donetsk, who were left bottom on two points after center-back Nicolas Lombaerts headed the only goal in first-half injury-time.