The official website for European football

Lucky break helps Arsenal down Celtic

Published: Wednesday 19 August 2009, 0.45CET
Celtic FC 0-2 Arsenal FC
A deflected William Gallas opener and Gary Caldwell's second-half own goal put the English visitors in the driving seat in Glasgow.
by Alex O'Henley
from Celtic Park
Lucky break helps Arsenal down Celtic
William Gallas celebrates after making it 1-0 at Celtic Park ©Getty Images
Published: Wednesday 19 August 2009, 0.45CET

Lucky break helps Arsenal down Celtic

Celtic FC 0-2 Arsenal FC
A deflected William Gallas opener and Gary Caldwell's second-half own goal put the English visitors in the driving seat in Glasgow.

A deflected William Gallas opener and second-half own goal from Gary Caldwell put Arsenal FC firmly in the driving seat in this UEFA Champions League play-off tie as the visitors earned a 2-0 victory against Celtic FC.

Fortuitous goals
The home team had more than matched Arsène Wenger's side for the best part of 45 minutes in Glasgow before Gallas deflected Cesc Fàbregas's free-kick into the net just before the interval. From then on there was only ever going to be one winner, however, and 19 minutes from time Celtic captain Caldwell inadvertently doubled the visitors' lead, diverting Gaël Clichy's cross into his own net.

Tactical surprise
Celtic manager Tony Mowbray had raised eyebrows by deploying Georgios Samaras as a lone striker at the expense of Scott McDonald and Marc-Antoine Fortuné, with Aiden McGeady providing support from the five-man midfield. The Irish international started brightly, and after Andrei Arshavin had had a goal ruled out for offside a lung-bursting run from McGeady created Celtic's first opening. The winger sent Scott Brown through on goal only for Thomas Vermaelen to save the day with a timely intervention.

Lucky break
Celtic looked the likelier scorers and Brown did test Manuel Almunia four minutes before half-time with a low drive from inside the box after a surging run from Andreas Hinkel. Yet moments later – in somewhat fortuitous circumstances – Arsenal were ahead. Artur Boruc looked to have Fàbregas's free-kick covered before the ball took a massive deflection off the back of Gallas and bounced off the upright and into the net. The onus was now on Celtic to chase the game, leaving themselves open to Arsenal's counterattacking threat and Denilson went close three minutes after the restart, the Brazilian curling a right-foot effort just wide. Robin van Persie tugged a shot past the same upright on 54 minutes as the visitors threatened to increase their lead.

Gallas intervention
Mowbray responded by sacrificing Massimo Donati and Samaras for McDonald and Fortuné, but it made little difference as the waves of attacks continued towards the home goal. Celtic did threaten, briefly, but having opened the scoring at one end, Gallas prevented a certain equaliser at the other midway through the second period when he cut out Fortuné's cross with McDonald waiting to pounce at the back post. It would prove the hosts' last chance and four minutes later their misery was compounded when Caldwell could only divert Clichy's cross from the left past a stranded Boruc, leaving Arsenal strongly placed to seal progress to the group stage next Wednesday in north London.

Last updated: 19/08/09 10.08CET

Related information

Team profiles
Related match
  • SSI Err

http://www.uefa.com/uefachampionsleague/season=0/matches/round=2000027/match=2000350/postmatch/report/index.html#lucky+break+helps+arsenal+down+celtic

UEFA.com features

Denmark rejoices at Agger's Brøndby return
  • Denmark rejoices at Agger's Brøndby return
  • Talents out to shine in UEFA Champions League
  • Bulgarian keepers' best European displays
  • Jelić soaring after five-star debut for Rad
  • Newcomers Eibar make coach Garitano proud
  • Balzan ambition helping Malta
  • Shaw's Spanish journey aids Perth
  • Bundesliga preview ... are Bayern beatable?
  • Who are  FC Shakhtyor Soligorsk?
  • Kazakh clubs' greatest European nights
1 of 10
  • © 1998-2014 UEFA. All rights reserved.
  • The UEFA word, the UEFA logo and all marks related to UEFA competitions, are protected by trade marks and/or copyright of UEFA. No use for commercial purposes may be made of such trade marks. Use of UEFA.com signifies your agreement to the Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy.