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Dermo
03-04-2008, 05:50 PM
Celtic's Champions League ambitions were extinguished by Barcelona who produced a slick show in the Nou Camp.

The Spanish side got off to a perfect opening when Hernandez Xavi flicked the ball over Artur Boruc and into the net after only two minutes.

The Scots struggled to impose themselves but gradually improved without imposing any major pressure.

Boruc thwarted Ronaldinho and Deco while Celtic's best effort by Shunsuke Nakamura was saved By Victor Valdes.

Barcelona made no mistake in accounting for the other half of Glasgow's Old Firm, with a Nou Camp win already over Rangers earlier in the same competition.

The last match between the teams at the famous venue was a 1-1 Champions League draw in November 2004.

Celtic, on this occasion, were requiring their first away victory in the competition in order to progress, but faced the sternest of tasks to pull back a 3-2 deficit from the first leg in Glasgow.

Scott McDonald, the Hoops' top scorer, was manager Gordon Strachan's surprise omission as he opted for a conservative formation, with Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink in a lone striker's role while Paul Hartley appeared in a five-man midfield.

Mark Wilson, recently recovered from a knee operation, replaced cup-tied right-back Andreas Hinkel for his first start since last September.

Lionel Messi returned to the Barca line-up after starting on the bench for the 4-2 La Liga defeat by Atletico Madrid at the weekend.

However, all of Strachan's good pre-match intentions were ripped up, when Barca, full of verve, caught Celtic cold to open the scoring.

With Frank Rijkaard's side intent on putting the tie beyond doubt, his players delivered without hesitation - and at the worst possible moment for the visitors.

Lionel Messi, driving forward, found Xavi who played in Ronaldinho, who, in turn, cleverly brought in Silvinho on the overlap.

The Brazilian defender clipped in an inviting cross, and with the Celtic defence hesitating, Xavi flicked out a boot to guide the ball over Boruc and into the net.

With the Scots falling victim to a quickfire blow, similar to rivals Rangers visit to the Nou Camp in November, it was a portent of things to come, with Barcelona displaying their customary class and one-touch football.

Despite Barcelona enjoying the bulk of the initial play, Celtic managed to recover from Xavi's early strike.

Boruc did rescue his team-mates from conceding a second in the 27th minute, though, with an alert tip over the crossbar from a lob by the unlikely figure of Carles Puyol.

Messi - the Champions League top scorer with six goals - had to leave the field with a hamstring injury shortly afterwards, to be replaced by Thierry Henry who was surprisingly left on the bench by Rijkaard.

Barcelona demonstrated their quality in possession but, as the first half came to it's conclusion, they did not carve out the expected host of opportunities, much to the relief of their opponents.

Massimo Donati was replaced by Evander Sno at half-time as Celtic slowly began to improve.

Vennegoor of Hesselink should have done better with a glancing header from Aiden McGeady's inviting cross, before Giorgios Samaras came on for the Dutchman.

Barcelona began to get into their stride again, forcing Boruc to make two excellent saves in succession, the Pole firstly stopping Ronaldinho's thuderous shot from 18 yards before scooping away a raking Deco effort.

Samuel Eto'o then found himself unmarked in the six-yard area but the striker showed uncharacteristic hestitancy and his chance was gone.

It was proving, unsurprisingly, to be a long night in the Nou Camp for the Scottish champions, although they tried to take the game whenever possible to the hosts.

Eto'o was in threatening mood in the closing stages, but Celtic, to their credit, were defending well.

Valdes was tested by substitute McDonald in the final minutes but it was, in truth, a rare moment of concern for the Barcelona goalkeeper.

Boruc stood firm to deny Eidur Gudjohnsen, before Nakamura brought out a good late stop from Valdes.

And denied an equaliser on the night, Celtic exited Europe's premier competition at the same stage for the second successive season.



http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/football/europe/7272569.stm

Melle
03-04-2008, 07:07 PM
Yeah ! barcelona is ready, now all i hope is that madrid loose tommorow that would be great !