A Phillip Cocu header paved the way for PSV Eindhoven to log their place in the knockout stages of the UEFA Champions League at the expense of Schalke 04. In the night's other action, Scottish side Rangers also stamped a place in the next round despite drawing 1-1 with Inter Milan.
Everything was to play for in Group E were AC Milan and Schalke 04 had started the evening level at the top on eight points. The two sides met in a nerve-shredding game in San Siro. Before the game the Italians were in pole position on goal difference. Milan's Andrea Pirlo opened the scoring on 42 minutes but Christian Poulsen pulled a goal back for Schalke two minutes later to guarantee a tense second half.
Brazil international Kaka registered twice within eight minutes before the hour to put Milan in front again but Schalke responded immediately with Lincoln pulling a goal back to ensure a dramatic finish. Milan stood their ground however and will go into the first drum for Friday's knock-out round draw
Yet Schalke's misfortunes opened the door for PSV, who leapfrogged them into second place in the group with a 2-0 win at home to Fenerbache. Jefferson Farfan followed Cocu's 14th minute header by slotting the winner on 85 minutes to see the Dutch side finish just a point behind Milan on 10 points and resign Schalke to the UEFA Cup.
Inter Milan had made sure of top place well before tonight's 1-1 draw with Rangers. But the result meant that the Scottish side claimed runners-up slot in Group H as Porto and Artmedia failed to find the net in their meeting in Bratislava. Artmedia, who finish in third go into the UEFA Cup while 2004 winners Porto are eliminated.
Liverpool held Chelsea to a goalless draw at Stamford Bridge to finish top of Group G. Neither side were able to find the target in a highly tactical match that characterised a battle of wits between the two coaches Jose Mourinho and Rafael Benitez, who cancelled each other out with a series of strategic and psychological moves.
The title holders claim top spot with Chelsea finishing second just one point behind. Real Betis lost 1-0 at home to Anderlecht but progress to the UEFA Cup finishing third in the rankings on seven points.
Rankings in Group F had already been settled prior to Real Madrid's visit to Olympiacos. Olympique Lyon claimed the champions spot last month with a draw in the Spanish capital and consolidated their status as leaders with a 2-1 victory over Rosenborg. Madrid went into the game just two days after the dismissal of coach Vanderlei Luxemburgo. Caretaker coach Juan Manuel Lopez Caro was unable to celebrate his opening game in charge with a win however. The Spanish side did take an early lead thorugh Sergio Ramos whose header brought up his first goal for his club. But the Greek side pulled a goal back on 50 minutes through a blistering Erol Bulut volley and claimed victory with three minutes of normal time remaining as Rivaldo struck home the winner. Lyon top the group with 16 points while Madrid occupy second place six points behind and Rosenborg, have the satisfaction of entering the UEFA Cup.