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Celtic back on the grand stage

Boavista FC 0-1 Celtic FC (Agg: 1-2) Henrik Larsson's goal sees Celtic reach their first European final since 1970.

Loose ball
The Swedish international broke the deadlock on 79 minutes when he collected a loose ball in the area before poking a left-footed shot beyond goalkeeper Ricardo to secure a 2-1 aggregate win and a showdown with FC Porto in Seville on 21 May.

Hesitant defence
Celtic started brightly against a hesitant Boavista, with John Hartson causing problems for the home side's makeshift defence which was missing Paulo Turra. The Welsh striker won a succession of free-kicks in the first five minutes but, as at Celtic Park in the first leg, his side's final delivery lacked accuracy.

Larsson chance
The visitors' first clear-cut chance came on nine minutes with Hartson again winning a flicked header on the edge of the area but the incoming Larsson could not make a clean connection from six metres and the ball rolled behind for a goal kick.

Aerial threat
On 16 minutes Celtic captain Paul Lambert collided with Silva in midfield and in some discomfort was soon replaced by Chris Sutton who provided a further aerial threat towards the Portuguese defenders.

Predictable outcome
On 20 minutes Pedrosa attempted a speculative free-kick from 35 metres but his shot summed up what had been a disjointed first half as the ball sailed well over the crossbar. The same player attempted the same feat four minutes later with an identical outcome.

Parry away
However, Boavista gradually grew in confidence and Santos' 20-metre right-foot shot curled wide of goalkeeper Robert Douglas' right-hand post from Duda's pass in the 37th minute. Martelinho then escaped down the left flank but Douglas was alert to parry away Silva's flicked header.

Under pressure
Celtic were much more urgent at the beginning of the second half and Ricardo was under pressure as he punched clear a number of crosses. On 55 minutes Joos Valgaeren reached a pass from Hartson but Pedrosa made a last-ditch challenge to clear the ball on the edge of the area.

Stooping header
Boavista almost went ahead on 59 minutes when Duda's cross from the right wing was tipped into the path of Silva by the over-stretching Douglas, but Mjällby was on the line to clear the Brazilian's stooping header.

Growing influence
Celtic rallied thereafter, with Stilian Petrov and Larsson a growing influence on proceedings. However, substitute Luiz Claudio almost got on the end of Martelinho's cross on 70 minutes, only for Douglas to cut the ball out.

Away goal
Moments later Alan Thompson struck a fierce shot from the edge of the area but the ball deflected wide. Manager Martin O'Neill sent on Jamie Smith for Valgaeren in the 75th minute as Celtic pressed for the all-important away goal. The Ulsterman was rewarded four minutes later as the Boavista defence parted for Larsson to score.

Penalty appeal
Celtic had to survive a belated onslaught from the home side and survived a penalty appeal in the 86th minute when Jocivalter fell under a Dianbobo Balde challenge but they duly progressed. Manager O’Neill was rightly overjoyed after the game. He said: "It's fantastic, a great feeling. Over the two games we deserved it. I'm absolutely delighted for the whole club."

Pacheco pain
Boavista coach Jaime Pacheco said: "It's the hardest day of my life. We tried everything and had the best chances, but luck was not on our side. I'll be supporting Porto in the final and if they play to their ability they will win."