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Messi equals Raul's European Champions League goals record

updated 6:17 PM EST, Wed November 5, 2014
Lionel Messi scored twice in Barcelona's 2-0 European Champions League win over Ajax to move level with Raul as the competition's all-time leading scorer on 71. Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo is one back on 70. Lionel Messi scored twice in Barcelona's 2-0 European Champions League win over Ajax to move level with Raul as the competition's all-time leading scorer on 71. Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo is one back on 70.
Messi landmark
Ahead of the game
Doumbia for City
Toure de farce
Goezte have it
Gift of the Cav
  • Lionel Messi pulls level with Raul's record haul of 71 Champions League goals
  • Barcelona striker scores two goals in the Spanish club's 2-0 victory over Ajax Amsterdam
  • Argentine needs one more to break Raul's mark while Cristiano Ronaldo is on 70
  • Manchester City sink bottom of the group after home defeat by CSKA Moscow

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(CNN) -- It is another landmark in the career of one of football's greatest ever players.

Another two goals in the colors of Barcelona took Lionel Messi to 71 in the European Champions League -- level with the all-time record holder Raul.

The Argentina striker grabbed both goals as the Spanish giants beat Ajax 2-0 in Amsterdam, and now needs just one more to go clear of the legendary Spain striker.

Messi is already Barca's all-time leading scorer and a four-time Ballon d'Or winner at the age of 27.

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Not only did he move level with Raul in the Champions League scoring charts, he also edged one ahead of another stand out player of this generation -- Cristiano Ronaldo.

The Real Madrid striker failed to add to his tally in his side's 1-0 victory over Liverpool on Tuesday night, but the battle to beat Raul's record is still very much on.

Messi's first came from that rare source -- his head. His fine finish from Marc Bartra's cross was only the fourth header in that bumper haul of 71 goals.

And with 15 minutes left, Messi slid in to polish off a Pedro cross from the left to pull himself level with Raul. His brace also secured Barca's spot in the last 16 of the competition.

Man City implosion

Elsewhere, it was another miserable European night for English Premier League champions Manchester City.

Despite its riches and its legion of international stars, Manuel Pellegrini's men sank to rock bottom in its group after a 2-1 home defeat to CSKA Moscow, who had never before won in England.

Only once has City made it out of the group stages -- last season -- when it was beaten 4-1 by Spanish giants Barcelona in its last 16 clash.

Despite City's victory over neighbors United in the Manchester derby on Sunday, it has been in poor form of late, failing to win any of its three matches before that.

And in a subdued atmosphere, it fell behind inside 96 seconds to a striker fast becoming its nemesis -- Seydou Doumbia.

The Ivorian rose highest to meet an early free kick and plant it beyond England goalkeeper Joe Hart to score his fourth goal against City.

Doumbia's fellow countryman Yaya Toure brought the home side level with a stunning free kick of his own, firing into the top corner from 25 yards out.

But City self destructed again, a poor clearance from Gael Clichy allowing Bebras Natcho to pick Doumbia, who fired into the net past Hart.

City's task became more difficult when Brazilian midfielder Fernandinho was sent off with 20 minutes remaining and things went from bad to worse ten minutes later when Toure was also dismissed.

CSKA saw out the remaining minutes to leapfrog City in the table and keep its own qualification hopes alive.

"It's very difficult to understand why we played so badly," Pellegrini told Sky Sports.

"We were nervous. We didn't play. It's difficult to know why you have such a low performance from important players. It's a strange moment.

"I don't think it's just this competition -- in the last two weeks we are not playing the way we normally do. I don't understand but we must find a reason. It's a crisis of confidence."

In the group's other clash, Bayern Munich followed up its 7-1 win over AS Roma in Italy with a 2-0 success at home, Franck Ribéry and Mario Götze grabbing the goals.

Another English club -- Premier League leaders Chelsea -- struggled against NK Maribor, drawing 1-1 with the Slovenian minnows.

After squandering a string of first-half chances, Jose Mourinho's side were made to pay when Agim Ibraimi curled a fine effort into the top corner beyond Petr Cech on 50 minutes.

Luka Zahovic missed a glorious chance to double Maribor's lead, firing over the bar from barely six yards out with the goal gaping, before Nemanja Matic equalized with 17 minutes to go.

Belgium international Eden Hazard had a late penalty saved by Jasmin Handanovic, but Chelsea extended its lead at the top of the group after German club Schalke were beaten 4-2 by Sporting Lisbon in Portugal.

"I was not happy with the team or the performance," Mourinho told Sky Sports. "I think we deserved to win but with this referee I have a long story from my Italian times but I don't want to go in this direction.

"They gave absolutely everything -- they fought fantastically well for their point. It is a big day for them so it is also fair to praise them."

Elsewhere, Paris Saint-Germain beat Apoel Nicosia 1-0 thanks to Edinson Cavani's goal after 54 seconds -- the quickest in this year's competition so far.

Spanish side Athletic Bilbao slumped to a 2-0 defeat by Portuguese outfit Porto, while Ukrainian club Shakthar Donestsk beat BATE Borisov 5-0, two weeks after winning 7-0 in Belarus.

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