Victor and his Bhoys leave Barca stunned as Man United qualify

Victor and his Bhoys leave Barca stunned as Man United qualify

Victor and his Bhoys leave Barca stunned as Man United qualify

They were supposed to be blinded by the precision passing, lulled by the tiki-taka movement. They were to have their backs against the walls, waiting for the firing squad from Catalunya to strike when ready. But no. As Parkhead erupted after the final whistle, they had gunned down one of the greatest teams in football history. Scottish champions Celtic FC had done what other teams find hard to do; slay the goliath that is FC Barcelona.

The Bhoys had lost 2-1 at the Camp Nou courtesy of a Jordi Alba goal injury time, but at Celtic Park and against a plethora of superstars like Messi, Iniesta, Xavi, Alexis Sanchez and co., they returned the favor in one of their most memorable nights ever, winning against Europe’s best by a similar score line. Forget that a win by Tito Vilanova’s side would have ensured progress into the knockout phase.

Victor Wanyama is proving to be Kenya’s best export to the continental market. He’s value is rising by the day as he becomes part of a cast of stars who are in the Most Wanted Show. In Spain, the Kenyan international had missed a golden chance to score. At home, he did exactly that. 21 minutes into the game, Wanyama would rise and beat his namesake Valdes with a beautiful header to give Celtic the lead. History in the Kenyan books had been made.

The second goal, with only seven minutes left on the clock ensured the home fans behaved like teenagers with hormonal imbalances. Teenage sub Tony Watt sent a power surge through Glasgow as he riffled a shot past Valdes to leave the Glaswegians in a frenzy. This wasn’t Rangers, this wasn’t Benfica. This was the juggernaut that is FC Barcelona. The Hoops had blunted Barca’s well-documented incisive play, by using Chelsea’s script.

But it’s Fraser Forster who deserves more plaudits. The English keeper prevented the Catalans’ forward line with a string of superb saves, and only Messi, who pounced on his parried shot, breached the keeper’s goal. Neil Lennon’s team had put to the shredder the Blaugrana’s attacking blueprint, as a spirited and disciplined defensive display ensured they got a just reward for their efforts.

The Hoops had done it. Pure ecstasy.

Elsewhere, a power failure at Estadio AXA, when Man United were losing 1-0 to SC Braga, may have worked as a power dose, as the Red Devils struck three goals in the last 12 minutes to qualify for the second phase as group leaders. Late goals by Robin van Persie, Wayne Rooney through a penalty, and Javier Hernandez cancelled an Alan penalty for the hosts, in a game Sir Fergie’s side least deserved to win. The Mancunians weren’t their fluent best, but they would be no repeat of last season’s early exit.

At Stamford Bridge, Chelsea twice saw their lead cancelled by a determined Shahktar Donetsk, but Victor Moses struck in the 94th minute to ensure the Blues won the game 3-2 over the Ukrainians. Howlers by Donetsk keeper Andriy Pyatov gave goals to Fernando ‘El Nino’ Torres and Brazilian Oscar, but each time, Willian, who was wanted by Roman Abramovich in the summer, cancelled the leads.

That victory by Roberto Di Matteo’s team leaves the London side joint top with Shahktar, only a point ahead of Juventus, who demolished Danish side FC Nordsjaelland 4-0 to register their first win of the Big Ears campaign. With only two match days remaining, Group E is proving to be a watertight affair.

Last night produced a flurry of 34 goals in eight matches, at an average of 4.25 goals per match. Bayern Munich’s demolition of French side Lille was the biggest, a 6-0 hammering being the final score. Valencia defeated BATE Borisov 4-2, Galatasaray won 3-1 over CFR Cluj and Portuguese side Benfica defeated Spartak Moscow 2-0.

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