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giovedì 8 novembre 2012

Tony Watt incredibly gave Celtic one of the greatest European nights in their history

Neil Lennon’s Bhoys sent Glasgow’s East End delirious as they celebrated their 125th anniversary in style. Parkhead was in dreamland in the 21st minute when midfielder Wanyama headed in from a corner. The 67-year-old singer, whose hits include Hot Legs and Sailing, sobbed with joy at the final whistle in Glasgow last night. Underdogs Celtic beat Lionel Messi’s Spanish giants 2-1 in the Champions League thanks to stars such as Victor Wanyama and Georgios Samaras — despite a late comeback by the visitors.

Celtic have now played eight qualifying and group stage games in the Champions League and have won six, kept clean sheets in four, achieved victories on the road in Helsinki, Helsingborg and Moscow and – in this compelling spectacle – prevailed over a club that some believe to be the best the world has seen. If Lennon’s side should win their next outing, against Benfica in Lisbon in two weeks, they will be guaranteed a place in the knockout stage of the tournament.

Watt was one of four teenagers on the home bench. Barcelona, meanwhile, had David Villa, Gerard Pique and Cesc Fabregas on theirs. All three are World Cup winners and all came on. But for all the possession and shots, Barcelona were not at their fluent best here. Fraser Forster, nevertheless, made two magnificent saves from Messi - one in each half - and several others of real quality throughout.

Barça suffered only their second defeat of the season in Glasgow, the other being a 2-1 loss to Real Madrid in the second leg of the Spanish Super Cup in August. However, they remain top of the group on nine points, two ahead of Celtic in second place. Benfica have four points and Spartak Moscow are bottom on three after the Portuguese side won 2-0 at home to the Russians on Wednesday.

"We are still in first place and we are relaxed," said Messi, who scored in added time after earlier striking the frame of the goal. "I think we did everything well, we got into goal-scoring positions but the ball just didn't go in. "They were comfortable closing ranks in defence, waiting for a chance to counterattack, a corner or a free-kick and that's how they managed to score the two goals."

The Spanish tabloid 'Marca' writed: "Barcelona revived their ghosts of last season in losing at Celtic Park in a match that recalled the two semi-finals against Chelsea. The Scots sat back and waited for a chance to counter. They gifted the ball to Barcelona, who were not able to break down their wall, and made the most of their only two chances … The second round will have to wait."

Celtic (4-4-1-1): Forster; Lustig (Watt 72), Ambrose, Wilson, Matthews; Commons, Wanyama, Ledley, Mulgrew; Samaras (Kayal 79); Miku. Subs: Zaluska (g), McCourt, Herron, Fraser, McGeouch. 
Barcelona (4-3-3): Valdes; Dani Alves, Bartra (Pique 71), Mascherano, Jordi Alba; Xavi, Song (Fabregas 71), Iniesta; Pedro, Messi, Alexis (Villa 65). Subs: Pinto, Jonathan, Montoya, Tello. 
Booked: Song, Jordi Alba, Miku
Goals: Wanyama 21, Watt 83, Messi 90
Referee: Kuipers (Holland)
Attendence: 55,283

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