Barcelona glee in Glasgow

Tuesday , 14 September 2004

By Alex O ' Henley at Celtic Park

FC Barcelona became the first visiting team to win a UEFA Champions League match at Celtic FC as goals from Deco , Ludovic Giuly and the homecoming Henrik Larsson secured maximum points in their Group F opener .

Larsson clincher

Larsson's goal , on his return to the club where he scored 242 goals in a seven-year spell , sealed a victory which had looked in doubt after Chris Sutton grabbed a dramatic equaliser for Celtic just short of the hour mark . Barcelona coach Frank Rijkaard had named Larsson as a substitute with Brazilian ace Ronaldinho coming in to form a front three with Ludovic Giuly and Samuel Eto ' o .

Delayed start

Kick-off was delayed by 30 minutes because of a turnstile failure which locked hundreds of fans outside the stadium but no sooner had the game started than Barcelona took control . After just three minutes young goalkeeper David Marshall had to come off his line to block Giuly's shot , and a minute later Ronaldinho fired narrowly past the post .

Clinical finish

Celtic were being caught in possession all too often and on 20 minutes Barcelona exacted the ultimate punishment . Ronaldinho surged towards the box and played the ball in for Deco , who gave Marshall no chance with a clinical right-footed finish .

Close shaves

Having gone ahead Barcelona were happy to sit back on their lead and restrict Celtic to opportunities from set-pieces , but just before half-time they almost extended their lead when Marshall and then Bobo Balde denied Giuly and Xavi Hernández . Celtic manager Martin O ' Neill brought on Sutton after the break , and the impact was instant as the Scottish champions began the second half with much more verve and vigour in their game .

Marshall heroics

However , the game could have been put out of Celtic's reach on 55 minutes when Jackie McNamara brought down Giuly as he raced in on goal , leaving referee Markus Merk with no option other than to point to the penalty spot . But Marshall continued his heroics with a one-handed save diving to his left to deny Ronaldinho .

More pressure

Unfazed by the penalty miss the visitors went close again , through a header by Rafael Márquez and a Xavi volley , in a relentless 60 seconds of pressure . But Celtic survived to press forward and grabbed an unlikely equaliser on 59 minutes .

Celtic level

The pace of Henri Camara had proved to be one of the home sides ' most potent weapons and it was his cross from the right which was met by Sutton , who stretched to guide the ball into the roof of the net . Nine minutes after that the game was nearly turned completely on its head as Stilian Petrov was denied by a Victor Valdés save from a stinging volley .

Visitors ahead

Then , just moments later , Brazilian defender Juliano Haus Belletti was centimetres away from putting into his own net under pressure from Alan Thompson . Back came Barcelona however , and with just 12 minutes left on the clock Giuly hit them with the sucker punch , finding the bottom corner of the net from the edge of the penalty area with a little help from a deflection off the unlucky McNamara .

Victory sealed

Four minutes after that Larsson , on as a substitute , capped his return with a goal . Latching on to a misplaced header from Thompson , he calmly rounded Marshall before side-footing the ball into the net . Celtic had no way back and knew they were consigned to their first defeat in 19 home European games . For Barcelona , it was a first success on Scottish soil in six attempts .

Deco celebrates his opener