Barca grab last-gasp point with Messi strike

WHILE Chelsea romped to a comfortable win in Sofia last night, group rivals Werder Bremen and Barcelona shared the points in Germany.

Argentine international Lionel Messi scored a vital late equaliser as Champions League holders Barcelona snatched a 1-1 Group A draw.

Barcelona looked to be heading for their first defeat in this competition for 18 months after their captain Carlos Puyol had scored an own goal on 56 minutes.

But in the 89th minute 19-year-old substitute Messi latched onto a sublime pass from Portuguese star Deco to rifle in an equaliser.

Barcelona now have four points while Chelsea top Group A with a perfect six points.

In Liverpool’s group, a second half goal from Mika Vayrynen kept Dutch champions PSV Eindhoven on course for the next round with a 1-0 win at Bordeaux.

The Finnish midfielder broke the deadlock after 65 minutes to put his side level on four points but behind Liverpool on goal difference.

Despite missing several key players through injury PSV made most of the early running at the Chaban-Delmas stadium.

Bordeaux skipper Ulrich Rame was hard pressed to keep his goal clear in early on, making an athletic dive to clear an Arouna Kone deflection off a Vayrynen corner after 15 minutes.

After the break, Vayrynen finally made the breakthrough after Kone, unmarked, fired past a helpless Rame.

The hosts enjoyed a numerical superiority after PSV’s Michael Lamey was given his marching orders three minutes later for elbowing Moroccan international striker Marouane Chamakh. But despite sustained pressure the French ultimately couldn’t find the target.

Bayern Munich went clear at the top of Group B when late strikes by Claudio Pizarro and Lukas Podolski gave them a 2-0 win over nine-man Inter Milan at the San Siro.

It was only after the 57th-minute sending-off of Zlatan Ibrahimovic for a second bookable offence that the visitors began to take control and they had to wait until the 81st minute to go ahead when a poor clearance by defender Fabio Grosso allowed Pizarro to scuff a shot over the line.

Grosso’s evening got even worse four minutes later when he earned a straight red card for elbowing Willy Sagnol.

Podolski sealed the result in stoppage time when he latched on to a short backpass by Ivan Cordoba before beating keeper Julio Cesar.

Elsewhere in that group a second-half strike by Nani allowed Sporting Lisbon to snatch a 1-1 draw at Spartak Moscow.

Nani equalised for the Portuguese side against the run of play just before the hour, slotting the ball into an empty net after dribbling past Spartak keeper Wojciech Kowalewski.

Denis Boyarintsev had fired the home side ahead after just four minutes with a curving shot into the top corner.

The draw extended Spartak’s winless streak in the Champions League to a record 19 matches.

Valencia took charge of Champions League Group D after a 2-1 victory over AS Roma in a high-quality match at the Mestalla.

Midfielder Miguel Angel Angulo gave the Primera Liga side the lead 13 minutes into a breathless first half when he smashed home a sweet effort after good work from in-form striker David Villa.

Roma were level five minutes later; striker Francesco Totti netting a penalty after Valencia fullback Emiliano Moretti had wrestled Marco Cassetti to the ground in the area.

Moretti atoned for his error and ensured Valencia of a second win in a row when he set Villa up for the winner just before the half-hour after bursting through the Roma midfield.

Elsewhere in that group Shaktar Donetsk and Olympiakos played out an entertaining 2-2 draw. Michalis Konstantinou and Nery Alberto Castillo scoring for the Greeks. Ciprian Marica equalised after Matuzalem earned Shaktar first.

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