Barca, Inter, Stuttgart, Olympiakos into knockout stages

08:54, December 10, 2009      

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Barcelona players celebrate a goal against Dynamo Kiev during their Champions League soccer match at the Valeriy Lobanovskyy stadium in Kiev December 9, 2009. (Xinhua/Reuters Photo)

Defending champions Barcelona, Inter Milan, VfB Stuttgart and Olympiakos all advanced to the last 16 of Champions League on Wednesday after nailing victory against their opponents in the last group match.

Barcelona booked a 2-1 win at Dynamo Kiev for the knockout stages, who were joined by Group F rivals Inter Milan, who sealed their passage with a 2-0 home defeat of Rubin Kazan.

VfB Stuttgart also went through after an early three-goal blitzgave them a 3-1 win over Romanians Unirea Urziceni.

Greek champions Olympiakos Piraeus beat already qualified Arsenal 1-0 at home for the second ticket out of Group H.

Olympique Lyon thumped Hungarian rivals Debrecen 4-0 but finished second in Group E behind Fiorentina, who came from behind in a 2-1 win at Liverpool, who had already been eliminated.

Barcelona were in danger of making an early exit after Artem Milevskiy's glancing header gave Dynamo a second-minute lead but Spain midfielder Xavi equalized shortly after the half-hour.

FIFA World Player of the Year Lionel Messi curled a free kick to completed the rally in the 86th minute.

Mario Balotelli set up strike partner Samuel Eto'o with a clever back-heel for Inter's opening goal at the San Siro and then sealed their win with a thunderous free kick on the hour.

Rubin, who sealed their second successive Russian league title last month, will carry on in the Europa League after the winter break along with the other seven third-placed teams.

A Leonardo solo effort shortly after the break gave Olympiakos their Group H win against a second-string Arsenal side, with Standard Liege securing third place thanks to a last-gasp 1-1 home draw against AZ Alkmaar.

Sevilla made sure of the top spot in Group G ahead of Stuttgart after a Frederic Kanoute penalty handed them a 1-0 home win over Rangers.

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