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November 7, 2012
• Celtic Park, Glasgow
Referee: B. Kuipers
• Attendance: 58841
V. Wanyama 21'
T. Watt 83'
L. Messi 90'+
Well, there were more than a few nervy moments for the hosts, and it took an absolutely herculean effort from all those involved, but Lennon's men have pulled off a quite astonishing victory and go within two points of Barca in Group G. Good night.
Matthew Harold's take on proceedings from Celtic Park: "end the home fans away from the East End of Glasgow delighted as Neil Lennon claims his greatest victory so far as Parkhead boss and the players will now go into Celtic folklore, along with the heroes of 1967 in Lisbon, were they travel to next, looking to secure qualification for the last 16."
What scenes at Parkhead, the cameras have just shown singer and Celtic fan Rod Stewart crying in the stands, and can you blame him? What a night!
FULL-TIME!! Oh my word. Remember where you are, remember what you're doing, Celtic have beaten Barcelona 2-1! Wanyama opened the scoring in the first half, with the visitors hitting the woodwork twice. Lennon's men then survived a second-half onslaught, with Forster making a double save to keep out Alexis and then producing a world class stop to deny Messi. However, with Barca continuing to pile on the pressure, Watt doubled the lead with a cool finish to secure a famous win. Messi pulling back what proved to be only a consolation goal late on.
90' + 4'
Pedro goes to ground just outside the box, he appeals for a foul, the defender says he slipped, but whichever it was the referee gives a goal kick.
90' + 2'
Messi somehow keeps a wayward ball in and hooks it across goal, Mulgrew acrobatically swings his leg at it and just about clears. Nail-biting stuff at Parkhead.
90' + 1'
GOAL!! Messi pulls one back for Barca. It's cruel on Forster, given the game he's had and the fact that he made a brilliant save to deny Villa seconds earlier, but the ball bounced free to the Argentine who smashes it into the empty net. Four minutes of added time.
Our man at the ground, Matthew Harold: "The famous victory looks to have been secured for Celtic as Tony Watt, who only a couple of years ago was playing Second Division football for Airdrie United does what every boy dreams of getting on the end of a Xavi mistake and firing the ball into the back of the Celtic net to claim the three points."
Villa volleys wide from inside the Celtic box, the ball deflecting off Pique on its way through.
Wilson does fabulously to stay on his feet in his own area, eventually forcing Barca to give up possession. Celtic then break as Watt gets goal side of Mascherano, the Celtic man then falls under pressure with his opponent the last man, but nothing is given.
Five minutes to go and Celtic history is about to be written. The day after turning 125 years old, the famous Scottish club is now within touching distance of a quite incredible victory against Barcelona in the Champions League. Football, eh?
Assist Fraser Forster
Goal Tony Watt
GGOOAALL!! Celtic go 2-0 up! Can you believe it?! Tony Watt capitalises to monumental effect from Xavi's error, the midfielder failing to control a bouncing ball which allowed the Celtic substitute in on goal. He races free of the defence, picks his spot and composes himself before slotting home past Valdes. Parkhead erupts once more.
Wanyama fouls Iniesta and Barca have a free-kick in a good area…
Xavi plays it to Alba on the left-flank who steps inside of his man before unleashing a right-footed effort, but it's blocked by one of the numerous hooped bodies in Celtic's box.
Pedro finds Villa just outside Celtic's box but the substitute's shot, as so many of Barca's tonight, goes over. Maybe it's just meant to be?
Messi cuts in from the right and tries to create an opening to thread a pass or work a shot, but he's crowed out by the onrushing defence. Then, Iniesta does manage to find himself some space, but his shot flies comfortably over.
Cesc Fabregas crosses from the right but Wanyama swings a boot at the ball to hack it away. 15 minutes remaining and Celtic still lead.
Messi embarks on one of those mesmerising runs towards Celtic's box, which must scare the life out of the SPL outfit's back line, however Ambrose stands firm and clears the danger.
Matthew Harold: "Barcelona have called on the big guns, with David Villa, Gerard Pique and Cesc Febregas all coming on, but they face the Parkhead wall which is in the form of Fraser Forster, who has continued from where he left off in the Nou Camp, making Lionel Messi shake his head in disbelief at some of the saves he’s pulled off as Celtic are just over 15 minutes away from claiming a famous victory."
No surprise to see Song being replaced, with a debate to be had as to whether the Cameroon international should still be on the field.
WHAT A STOP! Forster, yet again, frustrates Barca with an absolutely world class save, denying Messi's ever reliable left boot with a diving save after Alba teed the Argentine up.
Ooh, some controversy to add to this special night! Song, already on a booking and having escaped further punishment for an earlier clumsy tackle, goes straight through the back of Miku, conceding a free kick but not being carded. That could prove to be a talking point at the end of this match.
Yellow Card Jordi Alba
Commons does fantastically to read the through ball and cut out another Barca attack, but he then lumps it up towards Samaras and the visitors are back in possession.
Mulgrew is gifted a decent opening after a mix-up between Valdes and two of his defenders, the Celtic man just hesitating before shooting and thus his effort being blocked. Then, Wanyama breaks forward but wastes the chance by blasting high and wide. Better from the Bhoys, though.
Samaras gets the better of Messi in the air, after a long ball, but as soon as it falls to his feet the little Argentina international steals it from him. Celtic need to keep it better if they are to see out this game.
Fantastic double save from Forster! Alexis firstly tests the keeper with a powerful low effort, which he's equal to, but the ball bounces back out to the Barca man who turns before trying again, however once more the stopper keeps him out - this time with his feet.
Our man at Celtic Park, Matthew Harold, reports: "The onslaught has arrived from Barcelona as attack after attack peppering the Celtic penalty area, but Neil Lennon’s men have stood strong and on the break they look more than a threat, especially with the high balls which is a problem for the visiting defence."
Mulgrew crosses from the left and Lustig heads it goal, but it's a weak effort and Valdes can catch under no pressure whatsoever.
Messi steps inside of Matthews and curls a left-footed strike goal-wards, but Forster dives to his right to collect it.
Celtic just cannot do anything with what little of the ball they are getting. Mulgrew wins the ball in his own half before breaking with Samaras but Song steps in to clear the danger with ease.
Barca work the corner short, nearly getting Messi in behind Matthews but the defender recovers well. Another corner for the La Liga outfit but it eventually ends up in Forster's arms.
Matthews slides in with a fine challenge on Alves to deny a cross after a Barca counter-attack. Then, Ambrose headers behind from a Xavi cross. Surely Celtic can't keep them out all night?
More good work from Alves on the flank, this time he picks out Pedro with the cross but the latter's header goes wide.
Alves is back on the ball wide on the right, he fires in a dangerous ball - one of those that goes in between the defenders and the keeper - but it evades everyone and the attack ends.
Barca start the half how they ended the first; with the ball. Alves takes a shot from the right-hand-side of the box but it deflects easily into Forster's arms.
Celtic re-start the match.
As you can see from the stats window in our slick Live Match Centre, Barca have had 85.3% of possession compared to Celtic's 14.7%. The hosts are in for a long old second 45 minutes, I think it's safe to say.
Our man in Scotland, Matthew Harold, offers his thoughts at the half-way stage: "Half-time at Celtic Park and we could be looking at the shock of the night in Europe after Victor Wanyama’s superb header from a Charlie Mulgrew corner gave the home side the lead, but they certainly have had some luck to go in ahead at the break with both Lionel Messi and Alexis Sanchez hitting the woodwork. 45 minutes of the same then each of the players wearing green and white hoops will be considered up there with the greats of the club from the last 125 years."
HALF-TIME!! Wow. Well, once again, that wasn't in the script. Wanyama has given Neill lennon's Celtic the lead against Barcelona with a terrific header from a Mulgrew corner, but this time they've still got it at the break. The Spanish outfit have since had the best of the play, as well as dominating possession, with Messi hitting the bar and Alexis hitting the post, but the hosts have held firm. What a second half we're in store for!
Celtic are being met by monumental cheers each time they successfully see out a Barca attack as half-time approaches.
Iniesta has a volley blocked on the edge of the box, then Alba falls under challenge but nothing is given. Celtic break up the other end with a long ball to Samaras, who is looking quite isolated, however he fouls his man when trying to retrieve the ball.
Yellow Card Miku
How has it not gone in!? Forster somehow keeps out a low cross that bounces off Messi, with a number of other players in and around the goal-mouth scramble too, though I'm not sure how much he knew about it.
Xavi nearly finds Alves' run with a lovely chipped long ball, but it just runs off the turf too quickly and the full-back can't control it.
Post! Alexis heads it back across Forster, who is completely beaten, after Alves' delivery, but the ball comes back off the upright.
The come forward again, though, as Alexis plays a through-ball to Messi who slides it across the six-yard box, but no-one is arriving to apply the finish.
The prolonged period of possession ends in disappointment for Barca; Xavi lashing over after Alves' lay off.
Barca are now just passing the ball around the edge of Celtic's box, waiting for the right moment to penetrate.
Messi rattles the bar! The attacker's first touch just makes the ball bounce up a little, with the Argentine then hitting a powerful strike goal-wards. However Forster tips it onto the woodwork and then behind. No corner given, though.
Decent chance for Celtic to grab a second against Barca. Yes, you heard that right. Mulgrew fires the ball across the face of goal, after Matthews played him in, but Valdes just beats Samaras to it.
Barca with work to do now, Song tries slip in Messi but Commons cuts it out and clears.
Our man on the scene, Matthew Harold reports: "The roof has come off Celtic Park as the home side take a shock lead against Barcelona as Kenyan midfielder Victor Wanyama gets above Jordi Alba to divert a superb corner from Charlie Mulgrew into the net with a powerful header, can Neil Lennon’s men hang on for a famous victory?"
Oh my, Celtic Park erupts as that effort hits the back of the net. The midfielder connected with Mulgrew's corner with Barca's defence nowhere to be seen.
Assist Charles Mulgrew
Goal Victor Wanyama
GOOAALL!! Celtic unbelievably go 1-0 up through a Wanyama header!
Ooh, Song needs to be careful here as he trips Miku after the ball has gone. Possibly another bookable offence, that.
But the Spanish side are now enjoying some possession in midfield as Iniesta, Xavi and co knock it about. Messi is nearly played in but is crowded out as he tries to turn in the box.
Valdes is forced to punch clear after a long throw from the left, then Samaras is penalised for being narrowly offside as the ball is headed back in. The hosts putting on a bit of pressure here.
Yellow Card Alex Song
Possible penalty appeal from Barca as Sanchez darts into the box before going to ground under pressure from Mikael Lustig, however nothing is given. Then, as Celtic charge up the pitch Alex Song is booked for a clumsy tackle of his own.
Commons fires a long ball up towards Miku but Victor Valdes rushes out to collect it ahead of the forward. Celtic certainly not looking overpowered here.
Lovely move from Barca! One touch football between Messi and Alba leads to the Argentine getting a yard of space on the edge of the box, however, uncharacteristically he lashes it over the bar.
Pedro crosses from the right, Mulgrew's clearing header falls to Xavi who volleys it back at goal, the ball then deflects off Alexis Sanchez but Fraser Forster moves his feet quickly to claim the ball.
Samaras wins a free kick off Javier Mascherano after a tough challenge, good chance to get it in the box but they go short and the attack fizzles out.
And as expected, the visitors dominate the early possession and get their passing game flowing.
Barca get us underway.
The teams are out and kick off is imminent...
Matthew Harold: "The teams come out to a huge display from the supporters, celebrating the 125th anniversary of Celtic which happened yesterday and if the home side manage to get the opening goal, then you may be able to hear the roar throughout Glasgow."
Former Celtic star Henrik Larsson also used to turn out for Spanish giants Barcelona, and what a player he was.
Lionel Messi became a father for the first time when his girlfriend gave birth to baby boy Thiago on Friday. The Argentine played the match against Celta Vigo on Saturday with a child's dummy in his sock - though it remained there as he failed to score, but will he tonight?
Bhoys forward Miku learned his trade in Valencia's youth system, where both David Villa and Jordi Alba developed their skills.
The first is an absolute cracker, but a bit of an omen for the hosts, and comes courtesy of Opta: "Celtic have only ever lost two home games in the Champions League (since 1992), but both of those were against Barcelona. Previous."
Some match stats for you before kick off, which is just over ten minutes away...
Our man at Celtic Park tonight is Matthew Harold, and he reports: "Spanish giants Barcelona bring their 100% record in Group G to the East End of Glasgow were they will be met by the cauldron of noise that is the Celtic support on European nights. Hoops manager Neil Lennon will require those fans more than ever with key players such as Emilio Izaguirre, James Forrest, Scott Brown and Gary Hooper all missing. While Barcelona have such strength in depth that the home side can only look in awe at as they can afford to have Gerard Pique, Cesc Febregas and David Villa on the bench."
Celtic: Forster; Lustig, Ambrose, Wilson, Matthews; Commons, Wanyama, Ledley, Mulgrew; Miku, Samaras Subs: Zaluska, McCourt, Herron, Fraser, Kayal, Watt, McGeouch Barca: Valdés; Alves, Bartra, Mascherano, Alba; Xavi, Song, Iniesta; Alexis, Messi, Pedro. Subs: Pinto, Montoya, Pique, Dos Santos, Fabregas, Villa, Tello
Celtic lost that game 2-1, with Jordi Alba netting a dramatic injury time winner after Georgios Samaras put the Bhoys 1-0 up within 20 minutes at the Camp Nou. Neil Lennon makes 1 changes from that clash, Adam Matthews, Kris Commons and Miku coming in for unavailable Emilio Izaguirre (hamstring), Scott Brown (illness) and Gary Hooper (hamstring). Tito Vilanova makes just one replacement for the fixture; Dani Alves coming in for Adriano, who failed to recover from injury in time, but the manager does have Gerard Pique back on the bench. Full teams to follow...
By the way, if you haven't found and read our Extra Time piece on Lionel Messi, Andres Iniesta and Xavi posing with the famous Celtic jersey, you really should. The atmosphere has clearly been building in Glasgow for the last few days, with the intriguing story set to continue after Neil Lennon's men's proud, yet heartbreaking, defeat in Spain two weeks ago.
Good evening and welcome to Goal.com's play-by-play commentary of a massive, huge and enormous night for Celtic. Not only did the famous Hoops of Scotland turn 125 years old this week, but they now welcome Spanish giants Barcelona to Parkhead in the Champions League this evening.
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