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Chelsea pay the penalty late on

Barcelona coach Josep Guardiola

Frank Lampard proved his worth to Chelsea with a goal in their Champions League clash with Valencia on Wednesday but a late Roberto Soldado penalty earned the hosts a 1-1 draw.

The build-up to the game had focused on the diminishing role that Lampard is having in the Chelsea team under Andre Villas-Boas, with the England midfielder having played in only one of his side’s previous four games.

Lampard had a quiet game but crucially found the back of the net after 56 minutes as the ball was played back to him inside the box by Florent Malouda.

The game opened up in the final stages and Soldado converted a penalty three minutes from time following a handball by substitute Salomon Kalou.

“It was a solid performance,” said Villas-Boas. “After the break we came out strongly and had good chances to make it 2-0 but we couldn’t hit the back of the net.

“It was unlucky and then they scored and got a draw. It was a good performance from Lampard and there is nothing more to say. He is one of the best players in our squad and I was very happy with him.”

Arsenal set aside their poor league form so far this season with a valuable home win against Greek side Olympiakos 2-1.

The Gunners made a roaring start against Olympiakos, easing into a 2-0 lead thanks to goals by 18-year-old Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain – the third youngest scorer for Arsenal in Champions League history – and Andre Santos.

However, some dreadful Gunners defending allowed Olympiakos back into the match six minutes later as David Fuster made them pay.

“It was a really good experience,” said Oxlade-Chamberlain. “It’s a big step up, but I want to play at the top level and I have plenty more time to play in the Champions League.

Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas

“It’s my first time in the Champions League and I’m glad we’ve achieved three points.”

Barcelona kick-started their defence by roundly thumping BATE Borisov as Lionel Messi scored twice in a 5-0 win to further cement his place in the history of the Catalan club.

Messi scored either side of half-time on a rainy evening to take his overall tally for the club to 194 goals and move level with Hungary legend Ladislao Kubala in second place in Barca’s all-time list of leading scorers.

Only Cesar Rodriguez – who scored 235 goals in the post-Civil War era – is still ahead of Messi, but the little Argentine striker seems certain to eclipse even him in the not-too-distant future given his recent run of form.

Meanwhile, Zlatan Ibrahimovic starred on his injury comeback as he inspired AC Milan to a 2-0 victory over Viktoria Plzen. The big Swede came straight back into the team following two weeks out with a groin strain and scored a penalty before setting up Antonio Cassano for the  decisive second.


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