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Celtic stand firm against Benfica

Published: Wednesday 19 September 2012, 23.00CET
Celtic FC 0-0 SL Benfica
FC Barcelona remain the only team to have beaten Celtic in 19 home fixtures in the group stage after a typically dogged display by the hosts.
by Alex O'Henley
from Celtic Park

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Match statistics

CelticBenfica

Goals scored0
 
0
on target3
 
7
off target4
 
5
Corners9
 
10
Offsides1
 
1
Fouls committed15
 
20
Yellow cards3
 
3
Red Cards0
 
0
Possession (%)52
 
48

Standings

Last updated: 23/10/2012 17:53 CET

Legend:

P: Played   
Pts: Points   
 
Published: Wednesday 19 September 2012, 23.00CET

Celtic stand firm against Benfica

Celtic FC 0-0 SL Benfica
FC Barcelona remain the only team to have beaten Celtic in 19 home fixtures in the group stage after a typically dogged display by the hosts.

Celtic FC, making their first UEFA Champions League group stage appearance in four years, kicked off their latest campaign with a goalless draw against SL Benfica.

The home side's opener to the competition proper in 2008 – against Aalborg BK – had also ended 0-0, though this particular encounter did not always seem destined to close in stalemate. Neil Lennon's side started and finished strongly but survived some scares of their own to ensure a fourth straight European Cup clean sheet at home to these particular Portuguese visitors.

Both lineups contained surprises, with strikers Gary Hooper and Óscar Cardozo beginning on the bench. Celtic opened up purposefully with Charlie Mulgrew and Mikael Lustig providing an aerial threat from a series of early corners. Kris Commons buzzed around energetically behind competition debutant Nicolás Fedor, yet as the first period unfolded, Benfica's extra man in midfield started to tell.

The Eagles had the first real opportunity on 32 minutes when a through ball from Enzo Peréz found Rodrigo racing through on goal. Fraser Forster raced off his line and smothered the young Spaniard's tame effort.

Celtic showed more zest after the break with Commons's darting runs keeping the Benfica defence on their toes. The hitherto muted James Forrest also began to cause Melgarejo problems on the right, albeit without any significant end product. Benfica still looked dangerous on the counter and a neat move between Pablo Aimar, Rodrigo and Nicolás Gaitán culminated in Ezequiel Garay's near-post header from a corner which Forster did well to punch away.

Both managers made changes soon after the hour, Thomas Rogne replacing the injured Lustig and Cardozo coming on for Aimar. Minutes later Emilio Izaguirre made way for Hooper as Celtic pressed for the breakthrough. Commons was particularly menacing, peppering shots in from all angles, most notably an audacious chip from the halfway line which almost caught Artur off guard.

Celtic now had real momentum but despite sustained pressure in the closing ten minutes they were unable to break the deadlock and remain without an opening-day victory in seven group stage appearances. Next up for the Scottish champions is a trip to FC Spartak Moskva on 2 October, when Jorge Jesus's charges play host to Group G leaders FC Barcelona.

Last updated: 27/11/12 8.50CET

http://www.uefa.com/uefachampionsleague/season=2013/matches/round=2000347/match=2009493/postmatch/report/index.html#celtic+stand+firm

Lineups

celtic

Celtic

benfica

Benfica

1
ForsterFraser Forster (GK)
1
ArturArtur (GK)
2
MatthewsAdam Matthews
10
AimarPablo Aimar (C)
Yellow Card57
Substitution63
3
IzaguirreEmilio Izaguirre
Yellow Card34
Substitution66
18
SalvioEduardo Salvio
6
WilsonKelvin Wilson
19
RodrigoRodrigo
Substitution70
7
MikuMiku
20
GaitánNicolás Gaitán
Substitution83
8
BrownScott Brown (C)
Yellow Card89
21
MatićNemanja Matić
Yellow Card47
15
CommonsKris Commons
24
GarayEzequiel Garay
21
MulgrewCharlie Mulgrew
25
MelgarejoLorenzo Melgarejo
23
LustigMikael Lustig
Substitution63
33
JardelJardel
49
ForrestJames Forrest
34
André AlmeidaAndré Almeida
67
WanyamaVictor Wanyama
Yellow Card21
35
PérezEnzo Pérez

Substitutes

24
ZałuskaŁukasz Załuska (GK)
13
Paulo LopesPaulo Lopes (GK)
4
AmbroseEfe Ambrose
7
Óscar CardozoÓscar Cardozo
Substitution63
11
NouiouiLassad Nouioui
8
Bruno CésarBruno César
Substitution70
Yellow Card90+2
25
RogneThomas Rogne
Substitution63
9
NolitoNolito
Substitution83
30
SlanePaul Slane
11
LimaLima
32
WattTony Watt
27
Miguel VítorMiguel Vítor
88
HooperGary Hooper
Substitution66
89
André GomesAndré Gomes

Coach

Neil Lennon (NIR) Jorge Jesus (POR)

Referee

Nicola Rizzoli (ITA)

Assistant referees

Renato Faverani (ITA), Andrea Stefani (ITA)

Fourth official

Riccardo Di Fiore (ITA)

Additional assistant referees

Luca Banti (ITA), Antonio Damato (ITA)

Legend:

  • GoalsGoals
  • Own goalOwn goal
  • PenaltiesPenalties
  • Missed PenaltiesMissed Penalties
  • reds_cardRed Cards
  • yellow_cardsYellow cards
  • yellow_red_cardsYellow/red card
  • SubstitutionSubstitution
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