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Two for Messi as Barça see off Celtic

Published: Thursday 21 February 2008, 0.50CET
Celtic FC 2-3 FC Barcelona
Celtic have it all to do after twice surrending the lead in Glasgow against their Lionel Messi-inspired visitors.
by Alex O'Henley
from Celtic Park
Two for Messi as Barça see off Celtic
Barcelona's Lionel Messi celebrates at Celtic Park ©Getty Images

Match statistics

CelticBarcelona

Goals scored2
 
3
Attempts on target3
 
9
Attempts off target1
 
10
Corners1
 
8
Offsides1
 
2
Fouls committed17
 
9
Yellow cards3
 
1
Red cards0
 
0

Standings

Matches

19 February 2008

Schalke
1-0
Porto
Liverpool
2-0
Internazionale
Roma
2-1
Real Madrid
Olympiacos
0-0
Chelsea

20 February 2008

Celtic
2-3
Barcelona
Lyon
1-1
Man. United
Arsenal
0-0
Milan
Fenerbahçe
3-2
Sevilla
 
Published: Thursday 21 February 2008, 0.50CET

Two for Messi as Barça see off Celtic

Celtic FC 2-3 FC Barcelona
Celtic have it all to do after twice surrending the lead in Glasgow against their Lionel Messi-inspired visitors.

Lionel Messi scored twice, including a late winner, as FC Barcelona came from behind in Glasgow to claim a 3-2 victory and a sizeable advantage in their first knockout round tie against Celtic FC.

Double recovery
Celtic threatened to maintain their superb home record in the UEFA Champions League as they took the lead through fine headed goals from Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink and Barry Robson, but a pair of strikes by Messi – now the competition's six-goal leading scorer – and a delightful Thierry Henry effort make Barcelona favourites to reach the quarter-finals at Camp Nou in a fortnight.

Early pressure

Having been handed a European debut by Gordon Strachan, Celtic's 19-year-old full-back Paul Caddis found himself up against Ronaldinho, who was making his first start since December. The Brazilian helped the visitors dictate the early tempo, although it was Henry who created the first opportunity on 13 minutes for Andrés Iniesta whose shot was saved by Artur Boruc. From the ensuing corner Caddis headed a goalbound Henry attempt off the line – settling nerves in the process.

Quick-fire goals
Despite their initial subjugation, it was Celtic who struck first three minutes later. Scott McDonald appeared to have lost possession in the Barcelona box but the ball fell invitingly for Lee Naylor whose superb left-foot cross was headed in powerfully by Vennegoor of Hesselink. There was little time to enjoy the advantage – two minutes, in fact – as Messi drove at the Celtic defence from the right, exchanged passes with Deco before cleverly lifting the ball over the advancing Boruc, despite Naylor's sliding tackle.

Half-time lead
Barça also looked the team more likely to score the third goal of the night but again it was Celtic who went ahead, seven minutes from half-time. Aiden McGeady, often inspirational but largely peripheral until this point, outstripped Iniesta and Carles Puyol on the left before firing across a high ball for Robson who somehow looped a header over Víctor Valdés from close to the penalty spot – not a bad way to mark your first appearance in the competition.

Equaliser
In contrast, Barcelona are a side full of players who know all about success in this competition – having triumphed in 2006 – and they levelled again in the 52nd minute. Gary Caldwell paid for a weak pass out of defence as Ronaldinho intercepted and supplied Henry, who drifted towards the Celtic area and curled a sumptuous right-foot shot from the corner of the box beyond Boruc. Strachan responded by introducing all three substitutes in a ten-minute spell yet it made little difference to the flow of the game which continued towards the Celtic goal.

Late clincher
Henry prodded just past the post following an intricate move involving Ronaldinho and Eric Abidal as Barcelona sensed their chance. They finally took it with eleven minutes to play: a Stephen McManus clearance hit Massimo Donati and fell for Messi, who dragged the ball back to create an opening before drilling it into the net. It might have been four had Boruc not subsequently denied Henry twice to keep his team in the tie – just.

Last updated: 21/02/08 10.14CET

http://www.uefa.com/uefachampionsleague/season=2008/matches/round=15106/match=301887/postmatch/report/index.html#two+messi+barca+celtic

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