Champions League: Lionel Messi scores twice to equal record

Lionel Messi celebrates scoring for Barcelona against Ajax in the Champions League
Barcelona's win away to Ajax was their first on their travels in the Champions League since defeating Manchester City 2-0 at the Etihad in February

Lionel Messi drew level with Raul's all-time Champions League record of 71 goals after scoring twice in Barcelona's 2-0 victory against Ajax.

Argentina international Messi scored in the 36th minute with a soft header after Ajax failed to clear a free kick.

His 71st goal in the competition came after he linked with substitute Pedro in the 76th minute as Barcelona qualified for the last 16.

Bayern Munich, Paris St-Germain and Porto join Barca in the next round.

Champions League record scorers
Lionel Messi71 goals90 games
Raul71 goals142 games
Cristiano Ronaldo70 goals107 games
Ruud van Nistelrooy56 goals73 games
Thierry Henry50 goals112 games

Messi has now surpassed Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo, who has 70, in the list of Champions League top scorers.external-link

"Messi is without doubt the best player I've seen as a player and a coach," said Barca manager Luis Enrique.

While it took Raul 142 Champions League outings to score his 71 goals, Messi's appearance against Ajax was his 90th in the competition.

Ronaldo, who started and ended Real's 1-0 win against Liverpool on Tuesday on 70 goals, has featured in the tournament 107 times.

Ajax, who are left to battle it out with Apoel Nicosia in Group F for third spot and a place in the Europa League, finished with 10 men against Barcelona after defender Joel Veltman was sent off for two yellow cards.

Wednesday's Champions League facts
Barcelona's Xavi played his 144th Champions League game, going level with Real Madrid goalkeeper Iker Casillas with the most appearancesBayern Munich have scored 11 goals in four Champions League Group E games, conceding one, while taking a maximum 12 points
Ajax's starting line-up had a combined total of 102 Champions League games - 42 less than Xavi has on his ownOnly four of the Lionel Messi's 71 Champions League goals have been headers

Elsewhere in Group F, Uruguay international striker Edinson Cavani found the net in the first minute as leaders Paris St-Germain overcame Apoel Nicosia 1-0 to advance.

Goals by Franck Ribery and Mario Gotze ensured Bayern Munich overcame Roma 2-0 to win Group E with two games to spare.

The Italians, who began the match with Francesco Totti, Gervinho and Miralem Pjanic on the bench, will be fighting with CSKA Moscow and Manchester City for second spot.

"I'd like to congratulate my players. I never expected to qualify after four games," said Bayern manager Pep Guardiola.

However, Bayern's victory came at a cost as left-back David Alaba injured medial knee ligaments and Guardiola expects him to miss the rest of the calendar year.

Nani, who is on loan from Manchester United, scored one as Chelsea's Group G rivals Sporting Lisbon defeated Roberto Di Matteo's Schalke 4-2.

Sporting's Portuguese rivals Porto overcame Athletic Bilbao 2-0 to seal their place in the last 16, Jackson Martinez and Yacine Brahimi with the goals.

Also in Group H, Shakhtar Donetsk defeated BATE Borisov 5-0, Brazilian striker Luiz Adriano scoring a hat-trick to take his tally in this season's competition to nine goals in four appearances.

Edinson Cavani celebrates scoring for Paris St-Germain against Apoel Nicosia
Edinson Cavani scored Paris St-Germain's fastest goal ever in the Champions League
Bayern Munich forward Franck Ribery celebrates scoring against Roma in the Champions League
Bayern Munich's Franck Ribery has two Champions League goals this season.
Nani celebrates after scoring for Sporting Lisbon
Nani has scored three goals in four Champions League appearances for Sporting Lisbon since joining on loan from Manchester United

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