Arsenal completes Houdini act

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src=' ' class='caption'> Arsenal wrapped up a remarkable comeback in the Champions League, but Celtic had their hopes snatched away by a controversial late penalty in Lyon.

Updated: February 25, 2007 09:48 IST
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Arsenal wrapped up a remarkable comeback to qualify for the knockout phase of the Champions League yesterday but Celtic had their hopes snatched away by a controversial late penalty in Lyon. An early goal from Robert Pires and a Freddie Ljungberg strike in the second half propelled Arsenal to a 2-0 win over Lokomotiv Moscow at Highbury to complete their climb from last place to top of Group B in the space of three matches. "Three games ago no one expected to see us here," said Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger. "When you look back to our first match at home, that 3-0 defeat to Inter Milan you have to say we've turned round the situation perfectly." Celtic needed just a point to go through to the 16-team knockout phase but despite twice coming from behind, they crashed to a 3-2 defeat at Lyon after Juninho stroked in a decisive 86th minute penalty. It was awarded when Bobo Balde was adjudged to have knocked the ball away with his arm, but Martin O'Neill said referee Urs Meier was at fault. "The referee will have to examine his own particular game during the night," O'Neill said. "It sounds like sour grapes but we'll have to deal with it. We are out of the competition, but he'll have to look at his own performance." Another disputed penalty helped Bayern Munich to go through after a 1-0 victory over Anderlecht ensured the 2001 winners avoided a second consecutive humiliating exit at the first stage. (PTI)

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