Barca bests Milan behind Messi's brace
Barcelona, Spain (SportsNetwork.com) - Lionel Messi led the way with two goals as Barcelona took firm control of Champions League Group H on Wednesday with a 3-1 triumph over AC Milan at the Camp Nou.
Messi converted a penalty kick on the half-hour mark and Sergio Busquets headed home the second goal nine minutes later for the home side.
A Gerard Pique own goal on the stroke of halftime helped Milan pull a goal back, but Messi extinguished any hope of a Rossoneri comeback when he scored again seven minutes from time to seal the win.
Barcelona moves five points clear of AC Milan with the victory and the club needs just a point from its next match at Ajax to secure a spot in the knockout round.
Barca controlled the early exchanges but had to wait until the 30th minute to go in front when Milan's Ignazio Abate fouled Neymar inside the penalty area.
Messi stepped forward and hammered the spot kick down the middle, leaving Milan goalkeeper Christian Abbiati with little chance.
A free kick nine minutes later led to the second goal when Xavi floated the ball into the penalty area and Busquets held off his defender and sent a glancing header past Abbiati and inside the right post.
Kaka helped get Milan back in the game when he attempted a cross that struck the leg of Pique and redirected into the Barca net.
Milan generated a few chances after the break in an attempt to take something from the match, but a brilliant one-two between Messi and Cesc Fabregas released the Argentina international into the area, where he expertly finished off the play with a chip past Abbiati.
Ajax moved into third place in the other match in Group H on Wednesday with a 1-0 win over Celtic courtesy of a second-half goal from Lasse Schone.
Atletico Madrid continued its dominance over Group G with a four successive victory, rolling over Austria Vienna, 4-0.
First-half goals from Miranda, Raul Garcia and Filipe Luis put Atletico well on its way, and the win clinches the top spot in the group and a place in the knockout round.
FC Porto and Zenit traded first-half goals in a 1-1 draw in the group's other match, leaving Zenit one point clear of Porto in the race for second place.
Aaron Ramsey's 62nd-minute goal lifted Arsenal to a 1-0 victory at Borussia Dortmund to move the Gunners into a tie atop Group F with Napoli, which downed Marseille 3-2 behind a pair of goals from Gonzalo Higuain.
Dortmund now sits three points back of the leaders while Marseille has been eliminated with defeats from its first four games.
Chelsea moved to the top of Group E after downing Schalke, 3-0, with two goals coming from Samuel Eto'o and another from Demba Ba.
The Blues move three points clear of the German outfit, while FC Basel is one point back of Schalke after getting a stoppage-time equalizer from Giovanni Sio in a 1-1 draw with Steaua Bucharest.
11/06 17:17:11 ET