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Champions League qualifying wrap: Celtic grab narrow lead

2 August 2012 02:04

Celtic had to come from behind to post a Champions League qualifying victory on Wednesday, while Anderlecht and Helsingborg also won.

Neil Lennon's side went behind at Celtic Park when HJK Helsinki midfielder Rasmus Schuller struck just after half-time, but goals from Gary Hooper and Charlie Mulgrew shortly after sealed the 2-1 result in the first leg of their third-round qualifying tie.

The hosts enjoyed plenty of possession in the opening half, but failed to turn that advantage into a goal as HJK Helsinki goalkeeper Ville Wallen looked assured on the last line of defence.

Then, just after the re-start, Schuller turned in Sebastian Mannstrom's ball on the second attempt to give the visitors an unlikely lead.

But Celtic were back on level terms seven minutes later when Georgios Samaras set up Hooper for the easiest of finishes.

The Scottish champions pushed forward in search of a winner and were rewarded when Mulgrew nodded in Kris Commons' corner just after the hour mark to make it 2-1.

James Forrest and Hooper had chances to add a third in the closing stages, but Celtic had to settle for a one-goal lead heading into the second leg in Finland next week.

Anderlecht were the most impressive winners on Wednesday as they cruised to a 5-0 thumping of FK Ekranas.

Deiudonne Mbokani scored a brace, while Tom De Sutter, da Rocha Kanu and Milan Jovanovic also got on the scoresheet for the Belgians.

Swedish club Helsingborg were also notable winners as they defeated Polish champions Slask Wroclaw 3-0.

Alfred Finnbogason got the ball rolling when he scored for Helsingborg in the opening half, before Christoffer Andersson and Daniel Nordmark netted in the final 20 minutes to seal victory.

In other results, Hapoel Kiryat Shmona triumphed 4-0 at home against Neftchi, FC Basel edged 10-man Molde 1-0, Dinamo Zagreb won 1-0 at Sheriff Tiraspol and Patrick Vouho scored the only goal in AEL's 1-0 victory over Partizan Belgrade.

NK Maribor won 4-1 at home against F91 Dudelange, Ricardo Cadu converted a penalty in CFR Cluj-Napoca's 1-0 triumph over Liberec, while Fenerbahce and FC Vaslui (1-1), BATE Borisov and Debrecen (1-1) and FC Copenhagen and Club Brugge (0-0) shared the spoils in their matches.

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