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Barcelona edge closer after victory

Barcelona celebrate scoring the opening goal as they edged towards qualification with a 2-0 victory over Inter Milan.
Barcelona celebrate scoring the opening goal as they edged towards qualification with a 2-0 victory over Inter Milan.
  • Holders Barcelona move two points clear at the top of Champions League Group H
  • They defeat Inter Milan 2-0 at the Nou Camp courtesy of two first-half goals
  • Inter Milan need to beat Dynamo Kiev or draw 1-1 in their final match to qualify for the last 16

(CNN) -- Holders Barcelona moved two points clear at the top of Champions League Group H after producing a classy display to defeat Italian champions Inter Milan 2-0 at the Nou Camp.

Barca could have found themselves out of the competition if results had gone against them, but Pep Guardiola's side are now within touching distance of a place in the last 16 after brushing aside Inter thanks to early goals from Gerard Pique and Pedro Rodriguez.

The result leaves Barca on eight points after five games, two clear of Inter and Rubin Kazan and three above Dynamo Kiev -- who played out a goalless draw with Rubin earlier in the day.

Barca travel to Kiev in their final match next month, needing just a draw to qualify, although a 1-0 defeat will also see them through on head-to-head records.

The Catalan giants came into the match on the back of just one victory out of four in their trophy defence, but they were always in control against an out-of- touch Inter side.

They took a 10th-minute lead when Pique muscled aside the challenge of Lucio to volley home from close-range after Thierry Henry had flicked on Xavi's corner.

And not long after that, Barca doubled their lead with a slick team goal. A quick ball into Xavi near the edge of the box was immediately played on to Dani Alves down the right.

The Brazilian's cross to the far post was volleyed home by Pedro, whose effort found the back of the net despite Julio Cesar getting a hand to the ball.

With the other two teams drawing 0-0 in Russia, it still leaves all four in with a chance of qualification ahead of the final round of matches.

Barcelona are on eight points, while Inter Milan and Kazan are both on six points. Inter are above the Russians by the fact they have scored one more goal.

The first match between Inter and Kazan ended 1-1 in Russia and a similar result or an Inter win will put them through. However, a 2-2 result or a Kazan victory will see the Ukrainian side go through.

Meanwhile, a Ivica Dragutinovic own goal inflicted Sevilla's first defeat in the Champions League this season as Unirea Urziceni remained on course for a place in the next round with a 1-0 Group G success .

Visitors Sevilla twice struck the woodwork in the opening 20 minutes, with striker Fredi Kanoute hitting the post from six yards and Alvaro Negredo heading against the bar, before Dragutinovic's misplaced header handed the home side a half-time lead.

Dacian Varga had three good opportunities to extend that advantage in the second period, but the second-placed Romanians had to be content with the solitary goal.

They will now meet Stuttgart -- 2-0 winners over bottom club Rangers -- in the final group game next month as they bid to join Sevilla in the knockout stages.

Rangers crashed out of Europe as German side Stuttgart secured a comfortable win at Ibrox, thanks to goals either side of the break through Sebastian Rudy and Zdravko Kuzmanovic.

Stuttgart needed just 16 minutes to take the lead, Rudy sliding the ball in from 12 yards after being set up by Aleksandr Hleb who had lost defender Steven Whittaker inside the home penalty area.

The second goal came in the 58th minute when Kuzmanovic headed Rudy's cross past goalkeeper Allan McGregor.

With Sevilla having already qualified, the winners of Stuttgart against Unirea will join them. However, a draw with be enough for the Romanian side to progress.