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6 December 2012
• Celtic Park, Glasgow
Referee: F. Brych
• Attendance: 59168
G. Hooper 21'
K. Commons 81'
It ended up being a deserved win; Celtic upped their game after the break and Spartak duly wilted. Georgios Samaras in particular was quite superb, even if he did essentially manufacture the decisive penalty. It wasn't a perfect win for the Bhoys but it's the imperfect ones that are the most thrilling. Thanks for joining me tonight - stay tuned to Goal.com for all the reaction to this and tonight's other games!
'London Calling' blares out at Celtic Park - loud enough to be heard over the home fans, which is quite some feat. Mass celebrations as the Scots reach the last 16 for the first time since 2007-08!
FULL-TIME AT CELTIC PARK! CELTIC WIN 2-1 AND REACH THE CHAMPIONS LEAGUE KNOCKOUT STAGES!
90' + 5'
Georgios Samaras brilliantly darts forward, thrusting with real purpose and wins a vital free kick. AND IT'S FINISHED IN CAMP NOU!
90' + 4'
Hilarious! Mulgrew and Samaras, in wasting time taking a corner, are bundled over by an encroaching Spartak player! They all fall over, most of them relieved.
90' + 3'
"There's only one Neil Lennon," sings Celtic Park. If he doesn't ease up on his chewing of that gum, there'll only be none of him left soon.
90' + 2'
Samaras launches a really quite excellent long pass down the left for Lassad to chase and he wastes time excellently by holding off two defenders. It's so close now...
There will be five minutes added on at Celtic Park as well. Nervy times now. Celtic need to defend at all costs.
There are five minutes added on in Camp Nou - and there'll be a few here, too, as Commons is still receiving treatment. It remains goalless between Barca and Benfica.
Yellow/Red Kim Källström
RED CARD! No arguments here - it's a second yellow for Kim Kallstrom but it could easily have been a straight red as the Swede gets his studs up high and plants them on Kris Commons' thigh.
Yellow Card Aiden McGeady
Georgios Samaras is fired up - he bought that penalty, you have to say, but he deserved it for the form that he's shown tonight. He wins a free kick off Aiden McGeady on the flank.
Neil Lennon couldn't bring himself to look in the Celtic dugout. Now they just have to hold on and hope that Benfica don't score against Barcelona. Meanwhile, Scott Brown makes way for Joe Ledley.
PENALTY TO CELTIC! The ball is launched up to Georgios Samaras and he holds it up on the edge of the area, sneaks past his defender and goes down looking for the whistle ... it's given!
Yellow Card Rafael Carioca
It's starting to get desperate for Celtic. Efe Ambrose just about holds off Emmanuel Emenike in his own area - just about.
Penalty Goal Kris Commons
GOAL! KRIS COMMONS THRASHES THE PENALTY HOME! It rockets in off the underside of the bar - an incredible spot kick given the circumstances. As it stands, CELTIC ARE GOING THROUGH.
That was a really fantastic stop from Sergei Pesyakov, especially considering that Spartak have nothing for which to play tonight.
INCREDIBLE SAVE! Celtic force another corner and Kris Commons delivers it superbly to find Charlie Mulgrew. Mulgrew thinks he's scored but somehow Pesyakov recovers to tip the ball over just before it bounces into the corner. Great goalkeeping!
At Camp Nou, Benfica appear to be shutting up shop and hoping to hold out for the 0-0. If either home side in the two Group G games scores, Celtic will advance to the knockout stages.
Emmanuel Emenike has not been handled too well by Celtic tonight and he's somewhat unlucky to see a free kick go against him in a tussle on the edge of the hosts' box.
Celtic have to be on their guard, though, with a succession of Spartak crosses needing to be protected against. The Hoops weather it and come forward, Commons drawing a foul from Dmitri Kombarov, who is shown a yellow card.
Yellow Card Kirill Kombarov
Another switch for Celtic. Beram Kayal, another with a yellow card to his name, is replaced by striker Lassad Nouioui. Neil Lennon has to go for it, with Barcelona still yet to do his side any favours.
Kris Commons cuts inside to shoot - it's not particularly ferocious but it's turned out for a corner with Spartak taking no risks. The set-piece is FINALLY delivered with threat and Efe Ambrose rises to meet it but the centre-back hits the side netting!
Mikael Lustig - booked and now apparently injured - is replaced by Adam Matthews as Neil Lennon finally looks to change things. A little renewed energy from right-back would be no bad thing.
Spartak continue to pass as they did so successfully in the first half. They seem calm enough - until Gary Hooper startles goalkeeper Pesyakov by closing him down. The clearance comes off the stiker ... and then off the keeper again for a corner. Great commitment by Hooper to make a corner out of nothing.
It's quietened down a bit for Celtic - a substitution is in order, you sense. The Hoops have to be alive to shut down Emmanuel Emenike, though.
There's a long, hopeful ball punted towards the right-hand byeline but Dmitri Kombarov has to put it out for a corner, with Kris Commons lurking. The set-piece is again wasted, however; Celtic will rue these missed opportunities if they go out.
The visitors take the opportunity to pass it around the back a bit - one worries for Celtic that their time to seize back the advantage was during that long spell of dominance just ended.
Fraser Forster is called into action as Jurado wakes up to fire one at him from range - it's easy enough for the Englishman to save, though.
Despite the very real threat that, if he does well, he could put his old side out of the Champions League, there's a warm reception for Aiden McGeady, who comes on as a Spartak substitute in place of the faded Ari.
Some roaming passes across the midfield are wasted when Emilio Izaguirre lifts an aimless one through the air into nowhere.
Spartak, who have been very quiet since half-time, come forward for a rare attack but there's little conviction and Celtic are soon pressing again with Samaras...
Kris Commons tries a low free kick from the right flank which doesn't come off - again he attempts to deliver when the move is rebuilt but once again there's no way through. Celtic are driving for the second goal.
Yellow Card Kim Källström
BARCELONA UPDATE: No goals yet - but the hosts have brought on Lionel Messi as a substitute. So, presumably, there will be some goals there soon. There usually are.
There's an energy about Celtic now. Brown and Samaras link up in the area before the latter tries to break free for a one-on-one. There's not quite the space but it's spread out to the left, whence a cross is swept in for Gary Hooper at the far post. The striker can't get good contact on it, though, from a tight angle.
Georgios Samaras takes on Kirill Kombarov down the Celtic left and beats him for strength, forcing his way around the outside and crossing low. It's cut out but that was very encouraging for the Greece international.
Yellow Card M. Lustig
Lustig now picks up a yellow card for an ill-advised tackle on Kallstrom, the midfielder requiring a few moments of treatment before getting up.
CELTIC HIT THE POST! Mikael Lustig slips into space on the right wing and crosses for Samaras. The Greek is there to meet it and volleys towards goal but it clangs off the outside of the post and out! So close for Celtic, who have come out strongly in this second half.
Emilio Izaguirre launches a long cross from the left-hand touchline, with the unlikely target man being Kris Commons. The midfielder takes it on his chest well enough, trying to drop it for Gary Hooper, but they're not close enough together and it's cleared.
Samaras doesn't get control of it but Spartak don't clear well and the hosts come forward. Scott Brown is just outside the box and could try to slip a pass inside - but he tries to shoot instead. It's a lame effort that doesn't get as far as the keeper; the midfielder was slipping as he took it.
Kirill Kombarov concedes a handball as Spartak bring it consequently forward, leaving Fraser Forster to aim a long ball at Samaras...
An awkward coming-together sees Scott Brown win a free kick inside the right side of the away half. Kris Commons takes this one after Mulgrew's poor efforts in the first period but it's dealt with comfortably.
Spartak Moscow get us going again for the second half.
'You'll Never Walk Alone' strikes up again. The teams come back out. Celtic have 45 minutes to push on into the Champions League knockout stages - or for Barcelona to pull them in with them.
Spartak, meanwhile, have nothing empirically to gain from this match but are putting in a good shift for new coach Valery Karpin. It's clear that they mean business and they deserve what they have.
Positives for Celtic include Georgios Samaras, who has been creative in his own ungainly way, and Mikael Lustig, who has marauded well down the right flank and combined with Kris Commmons. Negatives: the defence have been too slack, in particular with Emenike, and Charlie Mulgrew's deliveries need to improve.
Confirmation that it is still 0-0 at the break at Camp Nou. A goal for Barcelona there would give the advantage back to Celtic - as, of course, would one for the hosts in Scotland.
HALF-TIME: It's 1-1 between Celtic and Spartak Moscow and the scoreline is a fair one. Gary Hooper took his goal well but the Bhoys have not kept Emmanuel Emenike on a close enough leash and were finally, deservedly punished for it when he put Ari through for a goal that may end up being called a Kelvin Wilson own goal. As it stands, they're headed for the Europa League.
45' + 1'
Another free kick - a last one for the half, probably - and Mulgrew takes it just inside the Spartak half. This time he passes rather than crosses and the move looks briefly promising but it's cleared and that is the half-time whistle.
Kris Commons tries to make something happen down the right but it runs out for a Spartak goal kick. There'll be one added minute.
The wind has gone out of Celtic's sails slightly - a half-time regrouping would do them good.
Yellow Card Beram Kayal
Beram Kayal picks up a booking - he had to, really; Spartak were breaking fast and Rafael Carioca was at the heart of it.
Celtic get forward again but, once more, Mulgrew fails to take advantage of a corner kick. As things stand, with that equaliser, Benfica are now going through in second and the Scots will drop into the Europa League. They need to better the Portuguese club's result tonight, remember.
GOAL! CELTIC 1-1 SPARTAK MOSCOW! From that interception, Spartak counter once more and it's the culmination of their first-half threat. Emenike is given too much space in the centre and he plays Ari through on the right of the area. The midfielder looks up, picks his moment and chips over Forster into the net - despite a flailing Kelvin Wilson trying and failing to bundle it out.
The free kick is floated wastefully straight to Fraser Forster. The keeper's throw out prompts a Celtic attack but Brown loses the ball as he passes to an invisible team-mate on the right of the box.
Another home attack breaks down and the slightly more subdued Spartak come forward more slowly than before. Emenike wins a free kick from Scott Brown, who runs into him.
Chance for Celtic! Kris Commons slips a subtle ball down the right for Lustig, who picks out Scott Brown just outside the area. The midfielder has a crack but it's too close to Pesyakov!
Celtic have a moment's possession and think they have a throw-in but it's actually given to Spartak, Mulgrew not realising that he had run it out.
Gary Hooper makes a nuisance of himself in the penalty area but the corner isn't aimed at him. Instead, the second ball drops for Kris Commons and the midfielder drills a shot only slightly wide. Close one.
Celtic need to do better at closing down Emenike, whose business down the right-hand side of the box concedes a corner. Ari wastes it, though, and the hosts look to burst forward. Emilio Izaguirre is commendably athletic as he runs almost the length of the pitch to force a corner.
At Camp Nou, Benfica have ... cleared off the line. Still 0-0 there, still a bit too close for comfort for Celtic.
Spartak, enjoying much the greater share of possession, are building up slowly in the middle third but lose the ball when Ari steps awkwardly on Charlie Mulgrew. It's a nasty one for the left-back but he gets up and carries on.
The Schalke loanee is again in the thick of it but his wall-pass into the path of Dmitri Kombarov is just slightly too heavy and the left-back can't control before running it out of play.
Jurado is looking lively tonight and Lustig has to be on his toes to intercept the Spaniard as he links play on the edge of the area.
Celtic must be careful - Spartak are immediately probing again and the Bhoys have to mass their ranks to shut them down; after Emenike is allowed to shoot wide again, that is. A moment of calm allows the hosts to process that, as it stands, they will be going through. It' still 0-0 in Barcelona.
Goal Gary Hooper
GOAL! CELTIC 1-0 SPARTAK MOSCOW! This is really thanks to a serious error from the Spartak centre-back, Insaurralde awkwardly touching a hopeful Samaras pass behind him at the perfect angle for Gary Hooper. The striker quickly readjusts and smashes his shot low past Pesyakov - Celtic Park goes mad!
Sergei Pesyakov has to tip over Mulgrew's corner so it'll be a second - this time, however, the goalkeeper takes it comfortably. The Celtic left-back needs to improve his delivery.
Mikael Lustig wins a corner for Celtic as he plays the ball off a sliding Kim Kallstrom, outpacing his countryman.
The visitors have been the better side so far and Kim Kallstrom should get his shot on target, firing narrowly wide. Emenike then again tests the attentive Kelvin Wilson before firing wide from a no-hoper's angle.
Celtic build in the Spartak half, Commons and Scott Brown enchanging passes before it's spread to Mulgrew on the left touchline. His cross, however, is cut out.
In Spain, Rodrigo has missed a golden chance for Benfica to take the lead against Barcelona. That would have been disastrous for Celtic.
Emenike evades Efe Ambrose with a poacher's run but he's called marginally offside as the ball over the top is played. Close.
Nervy for Celtic! Kim Kallstrom sprays a pass to Dmitri Kombarov and the left-back drills a cross into the penalty area. He's looking for Emenike but, while it's diverted from the striker, Ari is nearly on hand to pounce. The Russians are threatening on the counterattack.
Mulgrew swings the free kick in with his left foot and it dallies with danger but he can't quite pick out the right head and it's cleared as far as a Celtic throw-in in their own half.
Gary Hooper sweeps the ball out wide to find Lustig on the right flank. The full-back makes the cross but it comes off Dmitri Kombarov's hand and a free kick is given.
Both sides take turns hoofing the ball clear of their own back line, Celtic looking to settle down into control after some early Spartak counters.
The hosts look to build down the right through Georgios Samaras but the Greek just leads himself down a blind alley and is crowded out.
Celtic successfully run the striker out of danger and get men back to defend. They'll have to watch Emenike, he scored twice against them in Moscow.
Celtic have a free kick of their own, however, on the mirror spot in the Spartak half of the one that Commons just conceded. Charlie Mulgrew's delivery is cleared, however, and the Russians look to counter through Emenike...
Kris Commons, looking a little too pumped-up, follows through on a tackle on Jose Jurado just inside his own half and probably owes it more to the clock than anything else for not having a yellow card. Spartak waste the free kick with a hefty high strike.
Spartak, overseen by returning boss Valeri Karpin, have the first shot of the match, Ari aiming what is no more than a warm-up effort at Fraser Forster.
Here we go! Celtic kick off.
Oh my. The noise that exploded around Celtic Park when the Champions League anthem started playing was quite something. The teams are lining up now - kick-off in just a couple of minutes.
The Celtic fans belt out 'You'll Never Walk Alone' with some gusto. Can't beat a crunch European night...
You can, of course, follow LIVE play-by-play commentary of the Barcelona-Benfica game alongside this one on Goal.com if you fancy but, rest assured, I'll keep you updated with any goals that go in at Camp Nou and what it means for Celtic.
"I just want the players to concentrate on what they're doing and see where it takes us," Celtic manager Neil Lennon tells Sky Sports when asked whether he'll be keeping his men informed of the situation in Spain. He might not be telling them but it's odds-on that he'll be frantically checking his phone during every single break in play tonight.
After a 0-0 home draw with Benfica on matchday 1, it took a clash with Spartak Moscow to inspire Celtic's tilt at qualification. Pulling off a remarkable 3-2 victory in Russia on October 2 set them up for those two incredible matches against Barcelona - they'll be hoping that there's an ecstatic symmetry tonight.
Spartak Moscow, however, have nothing for which to play tonight. Having just sacked coach Unai Emery, they are in something of a regrouping stage and the Scots are down as strong favourites to win this game, regardless of what goes on in Catalunya.
Barcelona, being already through as confirmed group winners, have taken the opportunity to rest some players. You know, nobody too vital ... just some bloke called Lionel Messi. He's on the bench even though two goals would break Gerd Muller's record for goalscoring in a single calendar year. Benfica are facing what passes for an under-strength Barca, with several younger players given a chance. If the Portuguese can get a result, it could be trouble for Celtic.
The other piece of good news is that, in order to qualify for the knockout stages, Celtic need to better whatever result that Benfica get in their away trip to Barcelona tonight. Yes, that's away at Camp Nou. Sounds easy, right? Well...
Do you want the good news or the bad news, Celtic fans? Let's start with the first piece of good news. Neil Lennon is fielding his strongest available XI, which includes midfielder Scott Brown playing through the pain barrier to help cover the only notable absence, the suspended Victor Wanyama. The Kenyan will be a big miss for the Bhoys but at least they're not too understaffed in the centre of the pitch.
SPARTAK MOSCOW LINE-UP: Spartak Moscow: Pesyakov; K Kombarov, Insaurrade, Suchy, D Kombarov; Rafael Carioca, Kallstrom; Jurado, Dzyuba, Ari; Emenike. Subs: Dykan, Bryzgalov, Pareja, McGeady, De Zeeuw, Yakovlev, Kozlov
CELTIC LINE-UP: Forster; Lustig, Ambrose, Wilson, Izaguirre; Commons, Brown, Kayal, Mulgrew; Samaras, Hooper. Subs: Zaluska, Matthews, Ledley, Rogne, Miku, Lassad, Watt
Good evening and welcome to Goal.com's LIVE play-by-play commentary of Celtic v Spartak Moscow. I'm George Ankers. It's a massive night for the Scottish champions, who are pushing to reach the last 16 of the Champions League for the first time since 2007-08. Team news and permutations coming right up...
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