Real reach next stage after eight-goal thriller

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The Independent Football

Real Madrid and Valencia - the two Spanish teams who fought out last season's European Cup final - have taking the first step towards repeating the feat this time around.

Real Madrid and Valencia - the two Spanish teams who fought out last season's European Cup final - have taking the first step towards repeating the feat this time around.

While Arsenal were erasing the memory of some poor previous campaigns in the Champions' League by making progress to the second group stages, Real were involved in a night of high drama at the Bernabeu.

The holders, who had beaten the Germans Bayer Leverkusen 3-2 away from home, overcame the side guided by Germany's national coach-elect Christoph Daum 5-3 on Tuesday night, Guti grabbing a brace for the Spaniards, with Ivan Helguera, Raul and Luis Figo (penalty) also scoring. Thomas Brdaric, the veteran German international striker Ulf Kirsten, and Paulo Rink netted for the Germans, who look unlikely to qualify for the second group stages now, having fallen six points behind second-placed Spartak Moscow. The Russians won 3-0 at Sporting Lisbon thanks to two goals from Igor Titov.

Valencia, defeated 3-0 by Real in May's final, edged out Lyon 2-1 in France. The hosts had the former West Ham midfielder Marc-Vivien Foé sent off in the second half for two rash challenges. Juan Sanchez and Ruben Baraja scored the Valencia goals. Steve Marlet's strike in the last minute was unable to save Lyon.

The Greek side Olympiakos, six points behind Valencia, went down 1-0 to Heerenveen of the Netherlands, Mika Nurmela's free-kick proving the decisive strike.

With Arsenal certain qualifiers in Group B after their point in Rome, the Ukrainians Shakhtar Donetsk won 2-1 at home to Sparta Prague to ensure that both sides still have a slim chance of catching Lazio.

Sparta took a 16th-minute lead through Jiri Jarosik, but the home side came storming back with Dainius Gleveckas' 35th-minute header and Gennady Zubov's spot-kick three minutes from time. Zdenek Grygera was sent off for handling the ball to give Shakhtar the decisive penalty.

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