Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Despite Valiant Effort, Bhoys Bow Out Of Champions League. . .

UEFA Champions League
First knock-out round, second leg
Tuesday, March 4, 2008
Nou Camp, Barcelona

(Xavi 3)


(Final aggregate score: Barca 4 Celtic 2)

BARCELONA (4-3-3) Valdes; Zambrotta, Puyol, Thuram, Sylvinho; Xavi (Gudjohnsen 82), Yaya Toure (Edmilson 68), Deco; Messi (Henry 38), Eto’o, Ronaldinho.
Subs: Pinto, Iniesta, Abidal, Bojan Krkic.

CELTIC (4-5-1) Boruc; Wilson, Caldwell, McManus, Naylor; S Brown, Donati (Sno 46), Hartley (McDonald 78), McGeady; Nakamura; Vennegoor of Hesselink (Samaras 55).
Subs: M Brown, Pressley, Robson, O’Dea.

Celtic’S UEFA Champions League campaign ended in defeat in the Nou Camp, with Barcelona adding one, without reply, to the 3-2 aggregate scoreline that they had clocked up at Celtic Park a fortnight ago.

Given the quality that was shown in that opening victory by the Catalans, some feared the worst in the return leg in Spain.

But while there was no shame in this 1-0 defeat, the game, as has so often been the case away from home in this competition, was over in a matter of minutes, with Xavi Hernandez scoring with just three minutes on the clock.

Gordon Strachan tried a different approach in this encounter, reverting to a 4-5-1 formation with Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink returning to the side as lone striker after his recent injury and Shunsuke Nakamura taking up an advanced role as the link between defence and attack.

The idea was perhaps to shield the Celtic back four while occupying Barca’s own back line and their inspirational holding midfielder, Yaya Toure, but the team had little time to settle into the new formation when a loose pass from Massimo Donati immediately had them scrambling to recover.

Having been given possession, Barca then showed their outstanding ability, with Xavi rolling the ball out to Ronaldinho on the edge of the box and the Brazilian flicking it into the path of the unmarked, onrushing Sylvinho.

The left-back then lifted a pass across the six yard box from the byline which found the run of Xavi, who extended a leg and poked the ball past the stranded Artur Boruc.


Well, while it was a nice run in the Champion's League, it is now back tothe real matter at hand, winning the League!

'Mon The Hoops!


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