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Rediff.com  » Sports » Barcelona qualify top of group with 2-2 draw

Barcelona qualify top of group with 2-2 draw

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November 28, 2007 09:22 IST

Barcelona reached the knockout phase of the Champions League with a 2-2 draw at Olympique Lyon on Tuesday.

The 2006 champions, who have 11 points from five matches, also secured top place in Group E after Rangers lost 3-2 way to bottom-placed VfB Stuttgart.

Rangers and Lyon will battle it out for the group's other berth in last 16 in two weeks time at Hampden Park with a draw enough to see the Scottish side through.

"We still have our destiny in our hands so we believe in our chances," Lyon captain Juninho told reporters.

"We played better than them and I think we could have won this game," Barcelona coach Frank Rijkaard told reporters.

"Our goal was to qualify and finish top of the group. It is the case so we are satisfied."

Lyon fell behind after only three minutes when Andres Iniesta connected with a Bojan Krkic cross from the right to score with a low shot from the centre of the box.

The hosts levelled four minutes later when Juninho's 40-metre free kick became the first goal conceded by Barcelona in this season's competition.

The Brazilian midfielder came close to a second on the half hour when his attempt was cleared off the line by Eric Abidal, his former team mate.

Barcelona, who were without the injured Thierry Henry and with Ronaldinho on the substitutes bench, were clearly the better side.

With Xavi a brilliant playmaker, they had a firm grip on the midfield, forcing Lyon's Fabio Santos to commit numerous fouls to slow the pace.

Rijkaard, who appeared outraged after a rough challenge by the Lyon midfielder on Lionel Messi, was sent from the dugout just before the interval by Italian referee Stefano Farina.

The Spanish side went ahead again shortly before the hour when Messi converted a penalty after being brought down by Sebastien Squillaci.

However, Juninho netted his second goal from a penalty 10 minutes from time after an Eric Abidal foul on second-half substitute Abdulkader Keita.

Source:
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