[UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE]
Predictions of Barcelona's quick demise proved to be unfounded as the defending European and Spanish champion beat Inter Milan, 2-0,
at Camp Nou on Tuesday and moved closer to qualifying for the knockout phase of the UEFA Champions League. On the other hand, Liverpool and Rangers were both eliminated. Here are three things we
learned on Tuesday ... Barcelona has the depth to win without its stars.
Even without the injured Lionel Messi
and Zlatan Ibrahimovic
, Barca outclassed Inter Milan, beating the Italian champion, 2-0, in a match that catapulted it from third
place to first in Group F with one game to play.
Barca started 22-year-old Pedro
up front, and he came through with the second goal midway
through the first half. Late in the game, Barca coach Pep Guardiola
brought on teenagers Bojan Krkic
and Jonathan Dos Santos
, younger brother of Mexico star Giovani Dos Santos
Inter coach Jose Mourinho
had no complaints about the outcome. "They were far superior," he said of Barcelona, which needs only a point in its final group match at Dynamo Kiev to clinch
a berth in the second round. Rangers can't handle the pressure of the Champions League at home.
Scottish champion Rangers
crashed out of the Champions League after falling to VfB Stuttgart, 2-0, at home. The loss left Rangers without a point at Ibrox in its three group games. It suffered back-to-back 4-1 defeats to
Sevilla and Unirea Urziceni in the other matches in Glasgow.
"The pressure of having to create at home is something we've not been able to handle particularly well," said
Rangers manager Walter Smith
. "I think away from home the expectation is not as great, in terms of having to go forward and win the game. We've even
been far better in our possession away from home than we have in home matches, which is a disappointment for us. We've not been good enough when the expectation is to go and win the game. We
have to take that on board. There are no excuses." Rafa Benitez will remain the Liverpool manager, despite the Reds' early exit.
Liverpool was eliminated from the Champions League on Tuesday despite its 1-0 win at Debrecen, but Spaniard Rafael Benitez
will remain as the Reds manager
for now. After Fiorentina's 1-0 victory over Lyon clinched the second berth from Group E in the round of 16, Liverpool managing director Christian Purslow
said Benitez's job was safe.
"What has happened has no bearing on Rafa's job whatsoever," said Purslow. "He signed a new five-year deal only months ago and in
those terms he is eight months into a five-year journey. You don't deviate from long-term plans for people, and the way to take the club to the next level, because of two late goals in the
games against Lyon. And that's what not getting through boils down to." Group E Debrecen 0 Liverpool
Scorer: David Ngog 4 Fiorentina 1 Lyon 0
Scorer: Juan Vargas 28 pen. Group F Rubin Kazan 0 Dynamo Kiev 0 Barcelona 2 Inter Milan 0
Scorers: Gerard Pique 10, Pedro 26
Group G Unirea Urziceni 1 Sevilla 0
Scorer: own goal 45 Rangers 0 VfB
Scorers: Sebastian Rudy 16, Zdravko Kuzmanovic 59 Group H Arsenal 2 Standard Liege
Scorers: Samir Nasri 35, Denilson 45+2 AZ 0 Olympiakos 0