Barca and Atletico sail into last 16

Wed Nov 6, 2013 6:00pm EST
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By Mark Meadows

LONDON (Reuters) - Barcelona and Atletico Madrid led a Spanish Armada into the Champions League last 16 with home wins on Wednesday and in-form Aaron Ramsey steadied Arsenal's boat with a battling win against rocky Borussia Dortmund.

Barca met seven-times winners AC Milan at the Nou Camp but the stock of the faltering Italians has fallen so much that even an average display from the hosts sealed a 3-1 success in Group H, Lionel Messi scoring a penalty and a cheeky third.

La Liga rivals Atletico put on a better display in their 4-0 cruise past Group G whipping boys Austria Vienna to glide into the knockout stages after four wins from four with two matches to spare.

Miranda grabbed Atletico's opener after 11 minutes before Raul Garcia rose athletically to head home the second, with Filipe Luis making it three for this term's potential surprise packages on halftime.

Diego Costa missed a penalty but added a fourth goal on 82 minutes as Diego Simeone's men made sure of top spot and equalled their biggest Champions League win in reaching the knockout stages for the first time since 2008/09.

"We knew it was very important to win today because of the result between Zenit and Porto. The team was great today and we deserved to reach the round of 16," the forward told reporters.

Zenit St Petersburg stayed as favorites to take second place and qualify after Hulk scored the equalizer but also missed a spot kick in a 1-1 home draw with his former side Porto.

Arsenal grabbed swift revenge for last month's home loss to Dortmund by snatching a 1-0 win at last term's runners-up, Ramsey's 62nd-minute header the latest in his purple patch of goals to leave Juergen Klopp's third-placed side suddenly fretting.   Continued...

Atletico Madrid's Raul Garcia (L) fights to head the ball with Austria Vienna's Florian Mader (C) and Manuel Ortlechner during their Champions League Group G soccer match at Vicente Calderon stadium in Madrid November 6, 2013. REUTERS/Susana Vera