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UEFA Champions League
29 August 2012
• Celtic Park, Glasgow
Referee: Carlos Velasco Carballo
• Attendance: 51566
G. Hooper 30'
V. Wanyama 88'
Celtic win Aggregate 4 - 0
So Celtic progress to the group stages of the Champions League at the expense of a desperately poor Helsingborgs side. Bigger dangers await, but with Georgios Samaras's elegance and the vast potential of Tony Watt, Celtic fans will be looking forward to an exciting campaign. That's all from us, good night!
While Age Hareide may feel aggrieved by the opening goal from Hooper - which looked offside - a 4-0 aggregate score line is as emphatic as you could hope for; he can have no complaints when coming up against a Celtic side in such fine form.
Lennon will be proud of some big performances from his players tonight. Wilson was imperious at the back, while Samaras, Hooper and Forrest were a cut about the Swedes.
90' + 1'
Forrest stings the fingertips of Hansson, but it's given as a goal kick. And that's it! It could have been four or five, but Lennon will definitely take that result.
Moments before the goal, Brown's curled effort was parried to Watt, whose effort was tipped over by Hansson. You have to feel for the keeper in the face of such inept defending.
Assist Kris Commons
Goal Victor Wanyama
GOAL!! Wanyama seals it for Celtic, and it's Champions League football for Celtic this season! Brilliant double save from Hansson, but the corner only results in more misery for Helsingborgs as Wanyama powers a header in.
Yellow Card Nikola Djurdjic
Handbags as Wilson is booked for a late trip just outside the area, but the free-kick in a promising area is wasted. Poor from the Swedes tonight...
Yellow Card Kelvin Wilson
Helsingborgs threaten, but more frustration for the Swedes as Bedoya bursts through, rounds Forster and pulls it back...but there's nobody to put it into the empty net, and Celtic breathe again.
Now this one is definitely offside. Forrest twists, turns, and strikes the post from 20 yards, and Hooper strikes the opposite post with the rebound. It wouldn't have counted anyway, as he was correctly flagged.
Watt may well be an important player for Lennon in Europe - the forward is full of energy and wants to get into dangerous areas. With tight games to come against the cream of the crop, Watt may provide the spark towards the end of games that is so important in European clashes.
The Celtic crowd are dreaming of Europe - and it's their team that are pushing for more goals, with Tony Watt looking like a real live wire on the left. His inviting cross catches out Hooper, whose movement up until now has been exemplary.
Georgios Samaras gets a standing ovation from Celtic Park - he looks in pain, but he - and his manager - will be delighted with his performance tonight. Promising youngster Tony Watt comes on after two goals against Inverness.
Samaras seems to be struggling with a back strain, and may well come off with the tie nearly won. He's been too much to handle for Helsingborgs, and will no doubt relish European football this season.
Yellow Card David Accam
Less than a minute after coming on, Accam is perhaps lucky to still be on the pitch after a late, late tackle on Izaguirre. It was clumsy rather than malicious, but the Honduran defender is now struggling. Not the impact Hareide - or Izaguirre - would have wished for.
Mahlangu is driving his side on, and Helsingborgs are getting men forward, but their link-up play is failing in the face of a resilient Celtic defence - Wilson in particular has been fantastic so far for the Bhoys, who cannot cope with his strong sliding tackles.
Mahlangu hits a sweet shot that Forster fumbles, but it's more of a pat into the ground, and the keeper collects at the second attempt. The Swedes are pushing, but they'll have to get a move on to make a dent in Celtic's three-goal advantage.
Djurdic almost scores from a snapshot as the ball falls to him from six yards out, but the playmaker can only volley into the side-netting from six yards out. Big chance, and he knows. it.
Good stop from Celtic's Forster to deny Uronen from a long-range free-kick. Comfortable in the end, as the goalkeeper dived to his left to tip it strongly round the post.
As predicted, it's been a calm opening, but Helsingborgs will surely try to up the tempo...if they can ever get the ball off of Samaras, who twists and turns once more before crossing from the right. He's picked up as he left off.
Despite Celtic's confident opening 45 minutes, Neil Lennon will surely be emphasising how important it is for his players to stay focused and strong at the back. Ready for the second half? Let's go!
Interestingly, further replays show that Hooper may have been in line with Samaras when the assist was played, but it's 50/50 really. In fairness, that have been why the official let the goal stand, as Hooper was so clearly beyond any of the Swedish side's defenders. Regardless, Helsingborgs boss Age Hareide will NOT be happy.
Phew! A frenetic first-half with a questionable goal leaves Celtic on the cusp of Europe's top club competition. It's still too early to write off Helsingsborgs, who will be going all out in what's sure to be a ragged conclusion to an exciting tie.
Yellow Card Adam Matthews
The stadium announcer roars into life just at the moment Andersson delivers the free-kick, which is a pea-roller - a bit sneaky perhaps, but there you go. Celtic get it away, and it's half-time. Celtic are 45 minutes away from the group stages.
Andersson kills a cross-field ball dead with a gorgeous touch, and Matthews can only pull him back and earn a deserved yellow. Dangerous for Celtic...
It's that man again - Samaras blasts down the right, but dallies in the box and can't find a team-mate. If he could make up his mind sooner, then he would be a real threat to the big guns in Europe this season - providing Celtic get there, of course...
Forrest and Samaras combine again, with the striker finding the winger with a great flick, but the winger's shot is blocked. Keep it tight at the back, and Celtic could put this tie to bed before half-time.
Hareide won't take this lying down, but the group stages are beginning to look a long way away for Helsingborgs now. The Bhoys' fans are doing the Poznan celebration - they think they might be going on a European tour.
Looking back at the goal, it's a really poor call from the assistant referee. The ball wasn't moving quickly from Samaras's pass, so there's no excuse to miss the decision. Still, Celtic won't complain, and you certainly need to take your chances in Europe.
Samaras is having a ball out there. Helsingborgs can't handle the striker, who looks like he's enjoying himself down the left as he wins another corner. Doesn't come to anything, but the Hoops are flying, aided by the home support in full voice.
Assist Georgios Samaras
Goal Gary Hooper
GOAL!! From a corner, Forrest drills a cross which is cleared, Brown hooks it back into the box. Samaras from six yards plays it to Hooper to stab home. The Greek was onside but Hooper is definitely offside. Major break for Celtic there.
Terrific run from Forrest from the right, past three defenders but then goes down under a risky lunge from Baffo. Replays show the winger went down too easily.
Forrest looks dangerous from the right - he's constantly looking for neat moves with Samaras, but his teasing low cross doesn't find anyone. He's going to cause the Swedes some problems tonight.
Samaras almost scores a delightful goal - he jinks past two challenges from the left wing and is through on goal, but finishes tamely into the grateful arms of Hansson.Gorgeous from the Greek until the strike.
The game has settled down a little - which will be a relief for Lennon, who will want to avoid any early setbacks.
Izaguirre tries to be too cute and is dispossessed 40 yards out, but the chance is wasted after Wilson slides in to put Bedoya off his shot. Big let-off for Celtic there.
Moments later, Wilson has to time a penalty-area tackle to perfection to prevent a Helsingborgs chance. Despite Celtic's promising start, it's beginning to resemble a training ground match.
Sorum nods the ball down to Djurdic around 30 yards out, but he spanks the volley high and wide. Helsingborgs are settling well.
Djurdic's speed on the ball in the final third of the pitch will be a worry for Lennon - he already looks like a danger man for the Swedes tonight.
Djurdic spreads the play well to Andersson, but the low cross is cleared. And the duo link again, with the same result. Corner to Helsingborgs.
Problems for the late call-up to Helsingborgs's defence Baffo, who seemed to injure his shoulder in a clash with Commons - but he's back on and will try to carry on.
Hooper does well down the left, and it's all Celtic at the moment without any real chances - but they'll have to be careful not to let their guard down against a technically accomplished side.
Scott Brown lashes an effort at goal but it's well over. Promising start from The Bhoys.
Commons goes in with a strong challenge in the first minute, firing up the home crowd. Not much chance of Celtic sitting back in the early stages here.
Late team news: Baffo replaces Sadiku for Helsingborgs, who was injured in the warm-up.
The roar greeting the teams is deafening; if Celtic do indeed qualify for the Champions League proper, they will fancy their chances against the best Europe has to offer with a crowd like this behind them.
"You'll Never Walk Alone" rings out around Celitc Park courtesy of Susan Boyle, and the teams are in the tunnel ready for the match.
Neil Lennon has told his players to "enjoy it" before a match that Charlie Mulgrew has described as "probably the biggest" game he has ever played in.
Celtic's big pre-match injury doubt was defender Thomas Rogne, who takes a place on the bench tonight. In better news for Celtic, Scott Brown, Georgios Samaras and Kris Commons all return to the starting line-up after missing Saturday's 4-2 win against Inverness.
Helsingborg: Hansson; C Andersson, Atta, Sadiku, Uronen; Wahlstedt; Mahlangu, Gashi, Bedoya; Sorum, Djurdic SUBS: D Andersson (GK) Baffo, Nordmark, Lindstrom, Bouaouzan, Accam, Alvaro.
Team news is as follows... Celtic: Forster; Matthews, Wilson, Mulgrew, Izaguirre; Brown, Commons, Wanyama; Forrest, Hooper, Samaras SUBS: Załuska (GK) Lustig, Rogne, McCourt, Twardzik, Murphy, Watt.
Lennon will be hoping for another fine performance from young goalkeeper Fraser Forster, who made a number of fine stops to deny the Swedes last Tuesday.
Good evening and welcome to the LIVE commentary of Celtic v Helsingborgs at Celtic Park. With the winner going on to claim a coveted place in the group phase of the Champions League, the stakes couldn't be much higher. With fierce rivals Rangers demoted to the Scottish Third Division, Neil Lennon will be looking to make his mark in Europe this season, but his side will have to negotiate a tricky Helsingborgs side who will be hurting after a 2-0 home defeat to The Bhoys last week. Age Hareide claimed his side were "better than Celtic at everything" in the first leg, and despite being caught out by sloppy defending and lackadaisical finishing, the Swedish side will be dangerous once more, particularly on the break.
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