Barcelona vs. Celtic  2 - 1

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Iniesta: We deserved to win

24 October 2012 17:05

Andres Iniesta believes Barcelona's win over Celtic in Tuesday's Champions League Group G encounter was fully deserved.

The Scottish champions appeared to be on their way to a hard-fought 1-1 draw, but Jordi Alba's goal well into stoppage time eventually helped Barca to the full three points, much to the satisfaction of his team-mate.

"It would have been unjust if we hadn't won," Iniesta told Barca's website.

"After their goal, they closed themselves off at the back and it was very difficult (to break through).

"We were convinced that the ball would eventually go in. It could have happened earlier, but the game isn't over until the final whistle.

"It’s never easy to maintain your concentration on defence when the team is on the attack all game long. Marc (Bartra) and (Javier) Mascherano were fantastic.

"The objective was to win nine points (from their first three games), our position in the group couldn't be better."

Barcelona continue their Liga campaign on Saturday when they travel to face Rayo Vallecano.

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Mascherano: ´Justice was served´

24 October 2012 16:10

Barcelona's Javier Mascherano feels Jordi Alba's late winner in their 2-1 Champions League victory over Celtic on Tuesday was deserved.

The Catalans created numerous chances against the Scottish champions, who had gone ahead thanks to a Georgios Samaras strike, but the hosts were unable to seal victory until the 94th minute.

"I think justice was served, we had 11 or 12 shots on goal to only one of theirs. Justice was served," Mascherano told Barca's official website.

"The team doesn't get tired of pushing forward, we could have given up but we kept on trying up until the end.

"This season is teaching us that a match isn't over until the final whistle, this is not the first time that this has happened to us.

"We had no problems in defence, they didn't create any chances. I think we put in a good performance."

Barcelona sit on top of Group G with nine points from three games.

Article

Lennon braced for Camp Nou cauldron

23 October 2012 12:55

Neil Lennon wants his Celtic players to be 'heroes' as they face the unenviable task of defeating Barcelona at Camp Nou.

Lennon is no stranger to leaving the Catalan capital unscathed having secured two memorable draws in consecutive years, playing a major role in the 1-0 aggregate win that took the club through to the UEFA Cup quarter-finals in 2003-04.

He returned the following season to secure the Scottish club's first ever Champions League point on the road and is hoping his current crop of players can pull a similar rabbit out of the hat on Tuesday night.

The Spanish giants are missing several key defensive players and Lennon is confident that his side can emerge with a positive result, admitting that they are currently 'in a good place' after hammering St Mirren 5-0 at the weekend.

"I am hoping there will be 11 or 14 heroes, not just one," Lennon told reporters.

"Players have already made their name in this competition and I am hoping a few more do it tonight.

"We have to be compact and play with a great intensity but what we do have is pace, good technical ability and we come off a great performance at the weekend.

"We are in a good place at the minute. We are hoping that the bubble doesn't burst but if it does then we can pick ourselves up very quickly.

"But it is a good challenge for the players and one that they should embrace."

Article

Celtic speed impresses Vilanova

23 October 2012 10:19

Tito Vilanova is determined to take Scottish champions Celtic seriously when they clash in Tuesday's Champions League Group G match.

Barcelona lead their section with six points from two games, while Celtic have four points, and the 44-year-old coach is adamant that his players will not underestimate the Hoops.

"Home games are very important in the Champions League," Vilanova told reporters.

"If we win this one, we will take a huge step forward. Celtic drew at home to Benfica and beat Spartak and that's a sign they are doing things well.

"Maybe people didn't take Celtic seriously at the start of the season, but we do.

"Over the years there have been lots of examples of teams who have been written off and were dangerous.

"Celtic are very quick and good on the counterattack, so we have to take them seriously in the Champions League.

"There are four games left and anything can happen. We will see which two teams qualify.

"All the games are difficult and Celtic's pace and the fact that they have tall players for set pieces are what worries me the most about them.

"I would prefer to win scoring the most possible goals and not conceding any, but when it comes down to it, I just want to win."

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Lennon ready for Barcelona challenge

22 October 2012 17:59

Celtic manager Neil Lennon has urged his young side to attack Barcelona in their UEFA Champions League clash on Tuesday.

Lennon believes that his team's 3-2 victory over Spartak Moscow in their last Champions League encounter has prepared them well for the fixture at Camp Nou.

The Bhoys came from behind in Moscow with an injury-time winner from Georgios Samaras which clinched their first away win in the competition in 19 attempts.

And the 41-year-old has claimed that the nature of the victory has them ready for a tough test on Tuesday.

"The performance in Moscow was probably even beyond my expectations," Lennon said.

"We've got a lot of young players and they played very well that night. Tactically, and in terms of the bravery and spirit they showed, they were excellent and that has given us a platform to go to Barcelona.

"I don't think we've got the mentality or the players just to sit in and defend, like Chelsea did against Barcelona.

"We have to try to create chances, like we did in Moscow. It won't be easy - it's the ultimate challenge for the players and for me, too - but we're going to enjoy it."

Lennon was on hand as Barcelona defeated Deportivo La Coruna 5-4 in a La Liga thriller on Saturday, and was suitably impressed by what he saw.

"They were incredible in the first half-hour. The possession and the movement was tremendous," he said.

"Barca don't play with a centre-forward as such. The front players tend to suck you out and then they hit you with a bit of pace in the final third of the pitch.

"The third goal, Messi's first, was a thing of beauty. And his hat-trick goal? Well, you run out of superlatives to describe him.

"It gets you thinking, 'how do you stop that? How do you defend against that?'. Going forward, they're a dream."

He added: "I want us to try and create chances and we've managed to do that in just about all of the games away from home in Europe in the past year.

"But this is the real acid test.

"This is the step up in class. They don't come tougher than Barcelona away."

Article

Wanyama: Celtic won´t be intimidated by Barcelona

22 October 2012 17:20

Celtic midfielder Victor Wanyama warns that his side will not be sitting back and admiring Barcelona in their Champions League encounter.

The Hoops star describes the La Liga outfit as 'one of the best teams in the world' and has urged his team-mates to be focused throughout the entire match if they hope to come out of the fixture with their heads held high.

"We all know about the quality of this (Barcelona) team, the players, how they play and what they have won," Wanyama told Goal.com.

"But we are not going there to sit back and admire them as they pass the ball around. I am sure all the players selected will be ready to put in a top-class performance.

"We have had a good start (to the Champions League) and it's important to maintain that and eye qualification to the next phase. We won away in Spartak Moscow and we will even be in a better position if we get a decent result against Barcelona."

Wanyama added that he sought out information from his brother McDonald Mariga about his experience of playing in the Camp Nou.

Mariga was part of the Inter squad who eliminated the Spanish side from the 2010 tournament.

The elder sibling played his part in the victory by replacing Samuel Eto'o in the final 10 minutes of the second-leg match played in Spain as the Italian side, then coached by Jose Mourinho, restricted Pep Guardiola's charges to a 1-0 defeat, thereby advancing to the final of the tournament courtesy of a 3-2 aggregate win and going on to lift the trophy.

"Obviously (I have talked to my brother). He not only has the experience of defeating Barcelona but that of winning trophies and this includes the Champions League," Wanyama said.

"He has told me of the Camp Nou atmosphere and how it's easy to get intimidated by the Barcelona players."

Primera División table

# Team MP D P
1 4 +11 12
2 4 +5 10
3 4 +2 8
4 4 +2 8
5 3 +5 7

Premiership table

# Team MP D P
2 7 +6 16
3 7 +6 14
4 6 +8 11
5 7 +0 11
6 7 -1 10