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UEFA Champions League
November 26, 2013
• Celtic Park, Glasgow
Referee: C. Çakιr
• Attendance: 58619
C. Zapata 49'
M. Balotelli 60'
And Celtic, too, had their chances, most notably when Virgil van Dijk was let unmarked in yards of space in the penalty area. But football is rarely about the ifs and maybes - and Milan go home deserved winners. I've been Tim Poole and you've been a great audience. We hope you enjoyed our coverage; take care!
It proves a disappointing and fruitless night for the Bhoys. Goals from Kaka, Cristian Zapata and Mario Balotelli have condemned them to a convincing defeat - and poor defending played its part in all three goals.
FULL-TIME: Celtic 0-3 AC Milan
90' + 2'
As things stand, Celtic are guaranteed to finish bottom of the group, with Ajax sitting in third. It will be between Milan and Ajax to decide who qualifies alongside Barcelona.
90' + 1'
Two minutes remain. Celtic can at least have one last hurrah to look forward to at the Nou Camp in their final game.
Of course, Milan have backed off, which is aiding Celtic's plight currently. Still no signs of that consolation goal, though, as Samaras now tries an ambitious bicycle kick. Way over the bar it goes and three minutes of injury time are given.
SAVE! Samaras, who has threatened to a degree tonight, breaks free in the penalty area and forces a save from Abbiati! He is ruled offside afterwards, though. This kind of energy would have been rather useful earlier in the game...
Back Robinho comes, after leaving the field for some treatment. Closing stages here.
Trouble for Milan now as Robinho goes down and stays down. The Brazilian is clutching his shoulder.
Admirable effort from the hosts late on here. The ball is not leaving the Milan half.
The effort is deflected wide! Corner for the Bhoys now.
FREE KICK! Can Celtic grab a consolation goal? Samaras draws another foul and the home side have a chance to salvage some pride.
Robinho gets involved with the action straight away, bursting into the box and forcing a save from Forster! Celtic are allowed a pause for breath, however, as the offside flag is raised against him.
A debut for the young Australian!
SAVE! Samaras goes for goal but intervention from Bonera prevents him from getting any power on the shot. An easy save for Abbiati is the result.
This will be Milan's first away win all season! They had previously not won in seven games going into this one. You sense Celtic may never have a better chance to get the better of the Rossoneri.
Up went Milan and scored from a corner of their own moments later...
Kaka scored from one in the first half after being left unmarked in the box - but Van Dijk was unable to convert in a similar position for the home side.
Still no joy for Celtic from corners, with Ledley's shot from distance being cleared with considerable ease. It has been a tale of two corners, to some extent.
FOUL! Daniele Bonera has brought down Samaras, with the Greek forward then complaining to the referee in an attempt to get the Milan man booked. That, too, looks to be a sign of mere frustration, as the challenge was purely accidental.
Today, however, Celtic have been outplayed. Some awful defending has counted against them and you could not say that this defeat is undeserved.
Have any Celtic fans left early yet? You would not blame them. They have been the victims of some fine margins in Group H - like their narrow defeat to Barcelona after Scott Brown's red card earlier in the campaign, as well as their original clash with AC Milan. In that one, it was two late goals that were their undoing.
OFFSIDE! The flag is up against Kaka after he sprints round the outside of Balotelli before receiving the ball from the Italian. The Brazilian is displaying a superb work-rate.
Anthony Stokes has been introduced by Lennon in the hope of inspiring some sort of change but his first real action is a shot so wayward it was closer to the corner of the stand behind the goal...
The Parkhead crowd enjoy a rare moment to cheer as Forster shows some neat footwork on the ball and tricks a Milan player with a crafty touch.
Consequently, Milan have a free kick deep into the Celtic half, though it is wasted.
Yellow Card E. Izaguirre
Another booking for Celtic! Balotelli is the victim as Izaguirre brings him down, meaning he is suspended for the Bhoys' next European clash against Barcelona.
Yellow Card Virgil van Dijk
Van Dijk is the latest figure to give into frustration for the hosts now. Could he have been thinking of his earlier missed chance there?
WIDE! Forrest is played into the Milan box and the home side have another great chance! The Celtic man can only fall to the ground and poke the ball towards goal, though, and it rolls inches wide of Abbiati's far post.
Forster had absolutely no chance and, once again, Lennon does not look happy on the touchline.
Assist Riccardo Montolivo
Goal Mario Balotelli
GOAL! And that is that. Balotelli scores with real ease. The Italian is played in with a long ball into the box - and his strength from thereon in makes him an impossibility for the home defenders to deal with. Ambrose tries to brush him off but he simply carries on into the six-yard box and slots the ball home into the far corner.
A Xavi penalty has pulled a goal back for Barcelona at Ajax. That result will not change anything for Celtic in terms of the Champions League - but it may boost their hopes of a Europa League place.
Milan are sitting back and just enjoying themselves now. At the same time, the Italians look composed in defence. Add the two factors together and things do not bode well for Celtic.
Yellow Card Kris Commons
Frustration on show from Commons now as he commits a poor challenge and rightfully goes into the book.
But Abbiati deals with the set-piece very easily.
Forrest wins a corner for the Bhoys, though, as they look to prove that they are not dead and buried just yet.
Parkhead has gone quiet and you cannot blame the home fans. Milan could be on their way to a second 2-0 win against Celtic out of two - and they have not been made to work awfully hard for it.
Clearly, the Celtic man should have done better with his first chance. It was actually an easier one than the one he just converted. How much will he rue that earlier miss?
UNBELIEVABLE! Van Dijk has another chance to head home and does so perfectly! However, he is ruled out for offside just as Ledley's cross is played in. How unlucky.
That could be the end for Celtic's hopes of a result tonight - and for their Champions League dreams for another season.
Assist Antonio Nocerino
Goal Cristian Zapata
GOAL! And Celtic are immediately punished for their profligacy. Perhaps the punishment is for their defending as their zonal marking goes awfully wrong once again. Zapata it is who taps home - almost into an empty net - at the far post from a corner.
It was an unbelievable miss, with the Celtic man is even more space than Kaka was for Milan's opener...
BIG CHANCE! Celtic have a huge opportunity straight away! Mulgrew hits a free kick straight into the wall but delivers another ball into the area on the rebound. Virgil van Dijk is there in acres of space - but he heads straight at Abbiati!
And the second half is underway...
A half-time update from the other game in Group H tonight, meanwhile... Ajax are beating Barcelona 2-0, which would mean Celtic would be four points adrift of the Dutch side at the foot of the table, as things stand. Not a pretty sight.
Neil Lennon will need more from all areas of his side, while he may also consider another change at the break. Celtic will be out of the Champions League as things stand. Second half to follow - but, for now, a few minutes of respite...
Kaka has not been alone in terrorising the Celtic defence, with Mario Balotelli also very lively - if not at his most clinical.
One piece of poor marking has let the Bhoys down at Parkhead, Kaka pulling no punches with a simple header into the far corner to punish them to the full extent.
Unfortunately for the home side, that is the last action of the half. Half-time: Celtic 0-1 AC Milan.
45' + 2'
SHOCKER! What an absolute waste. Kris Commons floats the free kick away from everyone in the box and out for a goal kick. That was downright irresponsible.
45' + 1'
And the Bhoys are not done just there. They have a free kick in Milan's half now...
45' + 1'
HEADER! Crosses have been the name of the game in the last few minutes and another one was delivered into the area just now - this time for Celtic. And Samaras gets on the end of it! But his header to the far post is dealt with by Abbiati. The Greek striker did well just to get anything on it.
Chances at both ends at the climax of this first half, then. Will we see any more goals before half-time? There will be a minimum of two minutes added time...
CLEARANCE! Birsa may have provided the assist for the only goal of the game so far but his attempted cross to Balotelli just now was simply awful. As such, Ambrose showed no hesitation in thumping the ball away.
Boerrigter gets involved for Celtic, however, as he looks to cut inside from the left and deliver a cross into the box!
Perhaps they wish they were facing Celtic every week?
Play has most definitely slowed now as Milan hold the ball with ease in the middle of the park. The visitors have edged possession so far and it shows with the confidence of some of their passing.
Another foul! This time it is Kaka on the receiving end. He is plainly shoved to the ground by Mulgrew.
CHANCE! Might they have hope of equalising before the break? Abbiati has just been forced into action - although the shot in question was straight at him.
Play has slowed down slightly, with the decibel levels at Parkhead also having lowered. What can Lennon do now - or at half-time - to swing this tie in his side's favour?
Emilio Izaguirre gives away yet another foul for the hosts and they are starting to play into Milan's hands with some ill-tempered challenges.
In the meantime, James Forrest gets a little carried away and brings Emanuelson down with a rash challenge.
The ensuing set-piece comes to nothing but that kind of effort is exactly what Celtic need - and have so far been missing.
CHANCE! Boerrigter now comes close for the hosts! He energetically turns and shoots, with his powerful effort being deflected out for a corner.
And the Celtic man can, in fact, no longer continue. Joe Ledley enters the fray as his replacement.
But there is a stop in play now as Kayal goes down injured.
SO CLOSE! Kaka drives a ferocious strike just wide! The Brazilian is starting to really display some of his magic - as he has done against Celtic in the past. On this occasion, he takes a touch and curls a quite brilliant shot just wide of the far post.
The hosts are trying their utmost to ensure that one mistake does not cost them too heavily, though, and a dangerous cross is whipped in from the left, requiring a headed clearance from inside the Milan penalty area.
It has been a very lively affair so far and Celtic would be happy with there exertions - were it not for a piece of terrible marking in the 13th minute. We are increasingly seeing such moments decide matches in the modern game. Manchester United beat Arsenal through a header, so too did Germany against England.
And the Rossoneri almost hit right back... Kaka and Balotelli are proving to be a menacing combination, with the Brazilian playing the enigmatic striker in inside the box, only for him to shoot over the bar.
FOUL! Nigel de Jong cheaply brings a Celtic player down and the home side almost capitalise on the free kick but a timely clearance from Cristian Zapata saves the visitors!
And the Bhoys now break into the penalty area, which the official raising his flag! The decision is offside, though, as there were about five Celtic players beyond the last man...
Abbiati punches a cross away!
The hosts are looking to get back into this, however, and are now applying pressure in the Milan half. The crowd are sensing something.
SHOT! Montolivo has an effort from about 25 yards that prompts a watchful eye from Fraser Forster.
Patience was perhaps an overrated quality in that instance, however, as the hosts easily intercept the ball and launch a break of their own straight up the other end. A poor ball into the box is easily cut out by Abbiati, though.
From their latest break, Balotelli has won Milan a corner, which is used to create an extended spell of possession in the Celtic half. The visitors are playing passes between each other slowly and patiently.
The away side now look to be coping well with anything Celtic throw at them, with a clear pattern developing. First, they look to cut out any through balls in their half, before giving the ball to Riccardo Montolivo, who unleashes a quick counterattack.
Celtic look to be taking their frustrations out in a worrying manner as a Milan player is brought down and now requires treatment. Balotelli, meanwhile, takes the opportunity to have a few words with his coach.
How apt is it that Kaka is the man to save a struggling Milan side? The Brazilian stood four yards from goal, completely unmarked - which really is criminal at this level. Take nothing away from the delivery, however - and the masterful header.
Lennon now looks exasperated on the sidelines.
Assist Valter Birsa
GOAL! Kaka puts Milan ahead! One corner led to another and a simple delivery was then met by a simple but perfectly-executed header from the former Ballon d'Or winner.
And now another corner...
CORNER! Urby Emanuelson curled what looked like a promising shot towards goal from the set-piece but it hit the wall and has gone out for a corner.
Milan have advanced up the other end and won themselves a free kick about 30 yards away from goal, however...
MISS!! Beram Kayal fires wide! Milan are like cattle amongst predators at the moment as Celtic look to pick the right moment to strike. And it almost comes as Mulgrew's deflected shot falls into Kayal's path - but he mishits his shot.
Mikael Lustig wins another corner for the Bhoys! Charlie Mulgrew takes it but Abbiati is able to - somewhat shakily - clear his lines.
Lennon, meanwhile, sits in his chair, calm and composed - chewing a piece of gum. He knows Celtic's fate is more or less in their own hands here.
Celtic have started brightly, though, and the visitors are struggling to get the ball out of their own half. When they do break, Efe Ambrose is quick to convincingly deal with any danger.
The game has maintained its intense pace during these opening minutes, though Milan have tried to slow things down by holding possession at the back.
SUPER MARIO! Mario Balotelli has a chance straight up the other end! The Italian takes a touch outside the box and lashes a low shot across goal. It curls wider and wider, however, and one cannot help but feel an in-form Balotelli would have done better.
Celtic are on the front foot straight away as Christian Abbiati is forced into a clearance before, Georgios Samaras wins a corner for the home side. The subsequent set-piece falls to Derk Boerrigter but he miscontrols the ball in the box.
And we are off!! Parkhead is at its noisiest best.
Kick-off is just minutes away now but, before we start, here's a fun little fact for you: tonight's referee Cuneyt Cakir is the same official that sent Nani off for Manchester United against Real Madrid last season.
So can the Bhoys use the intimidating Parkhead atmosphere to inspire another famous European night? Or will the sleeping giants of Milan finally awaken? Stay with us to find out!
And Celtic boss Lennon was in bullish mood ahead of the tie, telling reporters: "It’s a game we have to win to have any chance of qualifying. It’s a great game for the players to be involved in. We have performed very well in the group, apart from the first half in Amsterdam, so I want that to continue."
Things are very finely poised heading into tonight's encounter, with Celtic bottom of Group H with three points but Milan only two points ahead in second. A win for the home side would therefore move Lennon's men up into second, unless Ajax (in third with four points) can beat Barcelona.
And Milan will line up like this: Abbiati; Abate, Zapata, Bonera, Poli; De Jong, Emanuelson, Montolivo, Birsa, Kaka; Balotelli. Substitutes: Robinho, Matri, Constant, Nocerino, Cristante, Silvestre, Coppola.
With kick-off 15 minutes away, let's scan the teams Neil Lennon and Massimiliano Allegri have picked tonight. First, Celtic: Forster; Lustig, Izaguirre, Mulgrew, van Dijk, Ambrose, Boerrigter, Kayal, Forrest; Samaras, Commons. Substitutes: Stokes, Ledley, Balde, Rogic, Pukki, Zaluska, Fisher.
I'm your host Tim Poole and I'll be guiding you through all the Champions League action as a rather close Group H almost comes to its conclusion.
Good evening readers and welcome to live-text commentary of Celtic versus AC Milan!
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