Celtic size up Barcelona repeat
Monday, September 23, 2013
Celtic FC welcome Group H rivals FC Barcelona back to Glasgow hoping for a repeat of their memorable victory against Spanish champions in last season's group stage.
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Celtic FC will hope lightning can strike twice when they welcome Group H rivals FC Barcelona back to Glasgow 11 months after a memorable victory against the Spanish champions in last season's group stage.
• Celtic's 2-1 win on 7 November last year came the day after their 125th anniversary and proved key to their ultimate qualification for the last 16 but Gerardo Martino's Barcelona will be determined to ensure a different outcome when these two famous clubs meet again.
• Martino enjoyed a winning start in the UEFA Champions League when Barcelona beat AFC Ajax 4-0 on matchday one, but Celtic are still seeking their first points after succumbing to late goals in a 2-0 loss at AC Milan.
• Victor Wanyama (21) and UEFA Champions League debutant Tony Watt (83) earned Neil Lennon's men their victory last term, despite Lionel Messi (90) replying for Barcelona. It was a result that avenged Barcelona's last-gasp success at the Camp Nou a fortnight earlier when Jordi Alba hit the winner four minutes into added time, after Andrés Iniesta (45) had equalised a Giorgios Samaras (18) strike.
• The lineups for last year's Celtic Park encounter were:
Celtic: Forster, Lustig (Watt 72), Wilson, Ambrose, Matthews, Commons, Ledley, Wanyama, Mulgrew, Samaras (Kayal 79), Miku.
Barcelona: Valdés, Alves, Mascherano, Bartra (Piqué 72), Alba, Song (Fàbregas 71), Xavi, Iniesta, Pedro, Messi, Sánchez (Villa 65).
• That win was Celtic's first against Barcelona since the clubs' first meeting in the 2003/04 UEFA Cup fourth round. Lennon was then a player in Martin O'Neill's team, who overcame a Barcelona side including Víctor Valdés, Carles Puyol and Xavi Hernández 1-0 on aggregate thanks to Alan Thompson's first-leg goal in Glasgow.
• Barcelona won on both their subsequent visits to Celtic Park, starting with a 3-1 success on the opening night of the 2004/05 UEFA Champions League group stage when Henrik Larsson struck the visitors' third goal against his old club. Lennon played that night along with Valdés, Puyol and Xavi as Celtic suffered their only home loss in a group stage fixture. It finished 1-1 in the Camp Nou two months later.
• Barcelona also got the better of Celtic in a 2007/08 round of 16 tie. Despite trailing twice, they won the first leg 3-2 at Celtic with a team featuring Valdés, Puyol, Iniesta, Xavi and the two-goal Messi. Xavi hit the only goal of the return.
• Celtic have won seven of their last nine European fixtures in Glasgow, the one defeat in that sequence coming against Juventus (0-3) in last season's round of 16.
• Celtic did not concede a home goal in this season's three qualifiers, beating Cliftonville FC 2-0 and IF Elfsborg 1-0 before overcoming FC Shakhter Karagandy 3-0 to overturn a two-goal first-leg deficit.
• The last Spanish team to taste victory at Celtic were Club Atlético de Madrid, 1-0 winners in the 2011/12 UEFA Europa League group stage. Celtic's overall record against Spanish visitors is W7 D2 L4.
• Barcelona's record in Scotland is W2 D1 L3. They achieved an identical record on their travels in last season's UEFA Champions League, but did not win any of their three away games in the knockout rounds.
• Lennon's first taste of European club football as a player came in a 4-1 aggregate defeat for Leicester City FC against Atlético in the 1997/98 UEFA Cup first round. He also played for Northern Ireland in a 4-1 friendly loss to Spain in Santander in June 1998.
• Tomas Rogic appeared as a 69th-minute substitute in the Australia side beaten 6-0 by Brazil in Brasilia on 7 September, Neymar scoring the third goal.
• Teemu Pukki played in the Finland side beaten 2-0 at home by Spain in a 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifier on 6 September, Alba scoring the first goal. Iniesta, Xavi, Cesc Fàbregas and Pedro Rodríguez also featured for the world champions. Pukki had previously scored a 79th-minute equaliser past Valdés when Finland held Spain 1-1 in Gijon in March.
• Pukki hit three goals in 32 league games for Sevilla FC's B team between 2007 and 2010. He also made one Liga appearance for the senior side.
• Efe Ambrose was in the Nigeria team defeated 3-0 by Spain in the group stage of the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup on 23 June. Alba scored twice for a Spain side also including Gerard Piqué, Sergio Busquets, Valdés, Iniesta, Xavi, Fàbregas and Pedro.
• Derk Boerrigter scored in AFC Ajax's 4-1 group stage defeat at Real Madrid CF last December.
• Baldé struck four goals in 13 third-division outings during a loan spell at CD Badajoz in 2010/11.
• Emilio Izaguirre's Honduras lost 2-0 to Spain in the 2010 World Cup group stage.
• With Arsenal FC, Fàbregas and Alex Song won 2-0 away to a Celtic team including Scott Brown and Samaras en route to a 5-1 aggregate victory in the 2009/10 play-offs.
• Javier Mascherano faced Brown and Kris Commons in Argentina's 1-0 defeat of Scotland in a 2008 Hampden friendly.
• Iniesta was on target for Spain, while Piqué scored an own goal, when La Roja beat Scotland 3-2 at Hampden Park in a UEFA EURO 2012 qualifier in October 2010.