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Magic Messi moves in on record

Story highlights

  • Leo Messi moves to 80 goals for 2012 after Barca's 3-0 win at Spartak Moscow
  • Messi needs just six more goals to surpass Gerd Muller's record of 85 set back in 1972
  • Chelsea face early exit from Champions League after Juventus defeat
  • Bayern Munich and Valencia both through to knockout phase after 1-1 draw

Lionel Messi continued his incredible year by moving ever closer to Gerd Muller's record goal total by firing Barcelona into the next round of the Champions League.

The Argentina star scored twice to take his 2012 tally to 80 as Barca recorded a 3-0 win at Spartak Moscow.

Muller scored 85 goals in 60 matches for Bayern Munich and Germany back in 1972 but his record is under increasing threat.

Barca has six matches left before the turn of the year with Messi requiring six goals to surpass Muller and break yet another record.

"My aim was just to get the ball, create chances and that we win the game, that is what is important," Messi told reporters.

"We knew we couldn't afford to make mistakes after what happened against Celtic and that we had to go out strongly even though it is difficult to play away in this competition."

    Messi passes Pele's goal milestone

    Tito Vilanova's men face Levante on Sunday before further games against Athletic Bilbao, Benfica, Real Betis, Atletico Madrid and Real Valladolid.

    After eclipsing the achievement of Brazil legend Pele, who scored 75 goals from 53 matches in 1958, Messi moved up a gear in the Russian capital.

    With Barcelona already leading through Dani Alves' 16th minute effort, the diminutive striker fired home following a mix-up in the Sparktak defense.

    On the synthetic playing surface, Barcelona's tiki-taka football proved too much for the home side to cope with.

    And with just six minutes of the first period remaining, Messi grabbed his second of the evening with a neat finish after eluding the Spartak defense.

    "Everyone talks about Leo, the goals and the records but it is more his awareness and tactics," Vilanova told reporters.

    "The way he defends and attacks and helps the team in all areas.

    "The team showed how great they are as this was a difficult game in the cold on an artificial pitch although some of them have played on it before, and they played an excellent match.

    "It was important for us not to have to qualify in the final game which will not be easy against Benfica."

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    Led by Xavi, who made his 125th Champions League appearance, the Catalan giant could have had several more goals had it not been for wastefulness in front of goal.

    Pedro Rodriguez and Cesc Fabregas both had chances to extend Barca's lead as Spartak fell away.

    Meanwhile, Benfica kept alive its hopes of qualifying for the next stage with a 2-1 win over Celtic in Group G's other game.

    The Portuguese side took an early lead through Ola John only for Georgios Samaras to pull Celtic level.

    But Ezequiel Garay's fiercely struck volley secured victory for Benfica, who face a trip to the Camp Nou to play Barcelona in its final group game.

    Should Benfica suffer defeat , Celtic can secure a place in the last 16 with victory over Spartak Moscow.

    Barca's unbeaten run ended by Celtic

    Chelsea could become the first defending champion to be knocked out in the Group Stage after it lost 3-0 to Juventus in Turin.

    The defeat is Chelsea's heaviest in the competition since they were beaten 5-1 by Barcelona 12 years ago.

    The Blues will go into the final round of Group E matches in third place after goals from Fabio Quagliarella, Arturo Vidal and Sebastian Giovinco sealed the win for Juventus.

    "We showed much better spirit than the last games," Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech told ITV.

    "The first half it was very difficult, we did well and created chances, but if you create a chance you need to take it.

    "That was the difference. They went ahead with a lucky deflection, the second goal was another deflection but they did very well and deserved to win. We didn't cope very well.

    "We said before the game that we have our destiny in our hands, not any more. Now we need to do our bit , we need to win our last game and hope our fate is kind.

    "Being realistic, Juventus played very well and they need a point and Shakhtar are already through. It is a very sad moment."

    Chelsea must hope that the Italians slip up and it records victory over Nordsjaelland to sneak through.

    Shakhtar Donetsk's 4-2 triumph over Danish side Nordsjaelland means the Ukrainian champion is guaranteed a place in the last-16 of the competition.

    Controversy

    A Luiz Adriano hat-trick and a Willian double gave Shakhtar all three points and means it tops the group from Juventus.

    But it wasn't all plain sailing for Shakhtar after it scored a hugely controversial goal to go to 1-1.

    With a drop ball signaled by the referee, Shakhtar kicked the ball back to the Nordsjaelland goalkeeper, only for Adriano to intercept and score.

    With the Danes fuming, the visitors were ready to allow a Nordsjaelland player to walk the ball into the net in a gesture of sportsmanship.

    But one defender took exception and put in a tackle much to the fury of the home side.

    And while Nordsjaelland did grab another goal eventually, it never really recovered as Shakhtar eased home.

    In Group F, Thomas Muller secured Bayern Munich's place in the next round following a 1-1 draw with ten-man Valencia.

    The Spaniards, who had Antonio Barragan sent off, had looked set to snatch victory when Sofiane Feghouli scored with 17 minutes remaining.

    But Muller hit back just five minutes later to claim a point and send both teams through to the next stage following BATE Borisov's defeat by Lille.

    The French side claimed a 2-0 win in Belarus courtesy of goals from Dijbril Sidibe and Gianni Bruno.

    Pilkington punishes Manchester United

    Galatasaray kept its hopes of making it out of Group H alive following a 1-0 win over Manchester United.

    Buruk Yilmaz, the only Galatasaray player to score in the competition so far, took his tally to five to move level with Cristiano Ronaldo at the top of the scoring charts.

    The Turkish side sits second in the group with United having already qualified after winning its first four games.

    "It was difficult conditions and the pitch wasn't great," Manchester United midfielder Darren Fletcher told Sky Sports.

    "It was an intimidating atmosphere. "It was difficult to hear but you have to deal with that. The big problem was the pitch.

    "I thought first half especially we did enough. I thought the young players did fantastic and they'll only get better playing in an atmosphere like that.

    "As soon as they got the goal they slowed the game down. They started to foul and make tactical fouls."

    But Romanian side Cluj, which faces United at Old Trafford in its final game, still has a chance of making it through to the knockout phase.

    It won 3-1 against Braga with Portuguese striker Rui Pedro scoring a hat-trick to leave it within touching distance of the next round.

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