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Barca in cruise control with qualification on horizon

THERE were expected wins for Barcelona and AC Milan, who, at the halfway point of the group stage, both already look sure to progress from Group H.

Less predictable was Apoel Nicosia's 1-1 draw at last year's Europa League winners Porto, which kept the Cypriot outsiders top of Group G.

In Chelsea’s group, Bayer Leverkusen came from behind to beat third-placed Valencia.

Valencia led at the interval through Jonas but Andre Schuerrle smashed in the equaliser in the 52nd minute and Sidney Sam scored the winner four minutes later, as Leverkusen secured their first win over a Spanish side in the last eight attempts.

In Barcelona, an early goal for Andres Iniesta and a late one for David Villa were enough to give the reigning champions the points against Czech side Viktoria Plzen in a painfully one-sided Nou Camp contest.

It was the same score but a very different story at the San Siro, where Milan were grateful for Kevin-Prince Boateng's brilliant clincher 20 minutes from time.

Apoel Nicosia's impressive run continued as they drew 1-1 at Porto to remain top of Group G on five points. Hulk put Porto ahead after 13 minutes, but fellow Brazilian Ailton levelled six minutes later.

Porto lacked the spark to win it and Apoel will be delighted with the point. Porto have four points, as do Russian league leaders Zenit St Petersburg after they twice came from behind to draw at Shakhtar Donetsk.