A 90th-minute header from Giorgos Samaras gave Celtic FC their first away win in the UEFA Champions League and condemned FC Spartak Moskva to a second successive 3-2 defeat in Group G.
The Greece striker's intervention came at the end of a pulsating game high on entertainment. Emmanuel Emenike's double turned the match around after Gary Hooper had slid the visitors ahead early on and looked like inflicting Celtic's 20th defeat in 21 fixtures on the road in Europe's premier club competition. However, with Spartak reduced to ten men following the 63rd-minute dismissal of Juan Insaurralde, Dmitri Kombarov's own goal restored parity, paving the way for Samaras to land the decisive blow.
Beaten 3-2 at FC Barcelona in their first fixture, Spartak started positively without ever testing goalkeeper Fraser Forster. The Scottish champions did well to weather the storm and took the lead with their first attack. Mikael Lustig was put through on the right and his low cross found Hooper, who nipped in front of his marker to turn the ball past UEFA Champions League debutant Sergei Pesyakov in the Spartak goal.
Spartak were enjoying the majority of possession, but Celtic always posed a threat on the counterattack. However, a moment of brilliance from Kim Källström four minutes before half-time helped bring Unai Emery's side level. The Swedish international played a delightful left-footed pass to Ari, who, from his position on the right of the penalty area, deftly cushioned the ball across goal into the path of the onrushing Emenike, who could not miss.
The Red and Whites were in front three minutes into the second half. Ari's speculative drive from the edge of the penalty area took a deflection, which prevented Forster from gathering the shot. Demy de Zeeuw was quickest to the rebound and squared the ball to Emenike for another simple tap-in. Celtic pushed for the equaliser and their cause was helped when Insaurralde was sent off for tripping Hooper as he bore down on goal.
The Glasgow club's response was immediate. Within a minute of coming on, James Forrest's shot was saved by Pesyakov, yet the ball ricocheted off Kombarov into the back of the net. With both teams pressing for the winner Samaras got it, glancing a header across Pesyakov from Emilio Izaguirre's inviting left-wing cross and sparking delirium among the pocket of visiting fans.
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