FABULOUS CELTIC STUN BARCELONA
Wed 7th Nov 7.45pm
Celtic produced one of their greatest-ever results to mark their 125th anniversary with a fabulous 2-1 victory against Barcelona in their Champions League clash at Parkhead.
Despite missing a host of their leading players, the home side took a shock lead in an absolutely stunning atmosphere when Victor Wanyama headed in a Charlie Mulgrew corner midway through the opening half.
The Scottish champions then defended superbly as their visitors as expected completely dominated possession, twice hitting the woodwork while Celtic goalkeeper Fraser Forster produced a number of crucial saves.
And with just seven minutes remaining the Hoops teenage substitute Tony Watt broke clear to add a second goal and complete a famous victory despite a late consolation from Lionel Messi.
Manager Neil Lennon suffered another blow before the game when skipper Scott Brown was ruled out through illness, to join the likes of Emilio Izaguirre, Thomas Rogne, James Forrest, Lassad, Gary Hooper and Anthony Stokes on the sidelines. However, striker Georgios Samaras was at least passed fit to return.
Barcelona had already been pushed all the way by their hosts in the first meeting between the two sides at the Nou Camp three weeks ago when relying on a late injury-time winner.
Midfielder Xavi had their first effort but failed to seriously worry Forster, while little maestro Messi hoisted over before ex-Arsenal man Alex Song was cautioned for dragging back Miku.
But a truly captivated stadium which simply rocked all evening was an absolutely deafening cauldron of sound moments later when the majestic Wanyama rose highest to meet Mulgrew's corner and head his side into a sensational lead.
The visitors were though inches from equalising as Messi swapped passes with Andres Iniesta and crashed a shot against the crossbar, via a slight touch from keeper Forster.
The woodwork again came to Celtic's rescue not long after with Alexis Sanchez nodding Dani Alves cross against an upright while Kevin Wilson bundled off the line as the hosts continued to block heroically.
The Catalans were sure to come out on the offensive at the start of the second period, although it was more than ten minutes before Forster was called into action to deny Messi.
Forster then blocked from Sanchez at close-range and also dealt with his instant follow-up as his side continued to be forced to retreat.
Barcelona midfielder Song next escaped a possible dismissal before Forster was at it again when brilliantly keeping out danger-man Messi.
Celtic were less than ten minutes away from an incredible result when that man Forster's clearance down the pitch wasn't dealt with, and the released Watt showed wonderful composure to expertly finish past a stunned Victor Valdes.
Former Liverpool favourite Javier Mascherano's should then have been sent-off for dragging back goalscorer Watt just outside the area before Messi scrambled an injury-time consolation after Forster had saved yet again.
Celtic: Forster, Lustig (Watt 72), Ambrose, Wilson, Matthews, Wanyama, Ledley, Mulgrew, Commons, Miku, Samaras (Kayal 79)
subs (unused): Zaluska, Fraser, McCourt, Herron, McGeouch
Goals: Wanyama (21), Watt (83)
Barcelona: Valdes, Alves, Bartra (Pique 71), Mascherano, Alba, Xavi, Iniesta, Messi, Song (Fabregas 71), Sanchez (Villa 67), Pedro
subs (unused): Pinto, Montoya, Jonathan, Cristian Tello
Goals: Messi (90)
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