Didier Drogba puts Chelsea into last 16
Didier Drogba scored twice to lead Chelsea over Valencia 3-0 Tuesday night and into the second round of the Champions League.
Drogba put the Blues ahead in the third minute, set up Ramires' 22nd-minute goal and added the final goal in the 76th to ease pressure on manager Andre Villas-Boas, who complained about the "persecution" of his team during his first season in charge.
"We finished top of the group against all odds," he said. "There has been a lot of criticism of our players and they gave everyone a slap in the face."
Bayer Leverkusen clinched second place in Group E with a 1-1 draw at Genk.
The drama of the night came at Borussia Dortmund, with Marseille scoring twice in the closing minutes to win 3-2 and advance as Group F runner-up. Olympiakos was denied second place despite beating first-place Arsenal 3-1.
Zenit St. Petersburg reached the last 16 with Group G winner APOEL at the expense of Porto after drawing 0-0 in Portugal.
The final knockout phase places will be determined when the group stage concludes on Wednesday, with Manchester rivals United and City the highest-profile clubs facing possible elimination.
Chelsea, though, can relax -- for now -- and focus on moving up from fourth place in the Premier League and catching City and United.
For the ninth successive season, the Blues are in the knockout phase of the competition owner Roman Abramovich desperately wants to win. Drogba's goal was his 36th in the Champions League.
"I'm improving since the last few games," the 33-year-old said. "I've managed to have more time on the pitch and it's helping me a lot."
Bayer Leverkusen dropped to second in the group, requiring Eren Derdiyok's 79th-minute equalizer to cancel out Jelle Vossen's 30th-minute volley for Genk, which had already been eliminated.
In Dortmund, Marseille looked consigned to a spot in the Europa League in February.
Dortmund was ahead 2-0 on Jakub Blaszczykowski's goal in the 23rd minute and Mats Hummels' penalty kick in the 32nd, but Loic Remy cut the deficit with a goal on a 45th-minute header, Andre Ayew tied it in the 85th and substitute Mathieu Valbuena put the visitors ahead two minutes later.
That denied Olympiakos the chance to remain in the competition despite Rafik Djebbour (16th minute), David Fuster (36th) and Francois Modesto (89th) scoring in a 3-1 win over visiting Arsenal, which got a goal on Yossi Benayoun's volley in the 57th.
In Group G, two-time European champion Porto needed a win to advance, but will have to settle with a spot in the Europa League it won under Villas-Boas last season. Zenit rarely ventured up the pitch at Porto, drawing thanks to a solid defensive display.
APOEL won't care that its five-match unbeaten run in Group G is over, with the 2-0 loss to Shakhtar Donetsk 2-0 meaningless, having already qualified for the knockout round for the first time.
Defending champion Barcelona, already assured of first in Group H, fielded a mix of youth players and backups, winning 4-0 at home against BATE Borisov to extend its home unbeaten streak to 13 games. The Blaugrana went ahead on a goal by 19-year-old midfielder Sergi Roberto in the 35th, and 20-year-old defender Martin Montoya scored in the 60th. Pedro Rodriguez added a goal in the 63rd, then converted a penalty kick in the 89th.
AC Milan, which already had clinched second, played a 2-2 tie at Viktoria Plzen. Goals by Alexandre Pato in the 47th and Robinho in the 48th put the visitors ahead, but David Bystron scored in the 89th and Michal Duris tied it a minute later.
Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press