Celtic beat Barcelona 1-0

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/images/thumbnail/ver1/F/Football.jpg' class='caption'> A solitary second half goal from Alan Thompson gave Glasgow Celtic a 1-0 win over Spanish giants Barcelona in UEFA Cup.

Updated: February 25, 2007 10:05 IST
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Following the tragic train station bombings in Madrid earlier on Thursday, an impeccably observed minute silence was held before the UEFA Cup fourth round first leg match between Glasgow Celtic and Barcelona at the Scottish club's Parkhead ground on Thursday evening. Once the match got underway between two sides that have both been champions of Europe but have never won the UEFA Cup, there was no doubting the passionate support from the home supporters, but it was the visiting Catalan side who came closest to opening the scoring in a first half largely devoid of clear-cut chances. Brazilian world cup hero Ronaldinho's dangerous run and cross behind the Celtic defence five minutes before the break was only thwarted by some stout defending from Celtic's Jackie McNamara. The green and white half of Glasgow were fortunate to go into the break with the score still on level terms at 0-0. The numbers on both sides remained equal after the resumption, despite home 'keeper Robert Douglas and Thiago Motta both being shown a red card for an incident in the tunnel, reducing the match to a 10-a-side contest. However, German referee Wolfgang Stark had no hesitation in sending off a third player, this time Javier Saviola, following his 49th minute lunge on Celtic's Alan Thompson. Martin O'Neill's Scottish champions now had the advantage. 'The Bhoys' made it tell on the hour, when a long crossfield ball from Stilian Petrov found the head of Henrik Larsson and the unmarked Thompson lashed the ball beyond Barca 'keeper Victor Valdes. Larsson ought to have added a second with fifteen minutes to go, but the normally prolific Swedish striker could only screw his shot wide following Stephen Pear son's cushioned header. Barcelona tried everything to get back into the game, even replacing Ronaldinho with Marc Overmars just before the end, but it came to nothing and referee Stark brought the game to an end with Celtic the 1-0 victors. Celtic have now gone unbeaten at home for a remarkable 74 matches stretching back to August 2001 and a run of nine unbeaten games comes to an end for Barcelona. However, the tie is far from over and Barca will no doubt be a different proposition by the time the second leg comes round in two week's time. (AP)

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