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BBC Sport's Andy Gillies
"Celtic fans had to endure a late Porto comeback"
 real 14k

Celtic goalscorer Henrik Larsson
"This is a great win"
 real 14k

Celtic captain Paul Lambert
"We have to win our home games to give us a chance"
 real 14k

Celtic striker Chris Sutton
"This was a massive win for us"
 real 14k

Tuesday, 25 September, 2001, 22:12 GMT 23:12 UK
Larsson strike punishes Porto
Henrik Larsson celebrates his winning goal for Celtic
Henrik Larsson celebrates his winning goal for Celtic
Celtic 1-0 Porto

Celtic won their first Champions League points in Group E with a hard-fought victory over Porto at Parkhead.

A 36th minute opportunist strike from Henrik Larsson was enough to seal three points, but it needed resolute defending and some good fortune in the second half to deny the Portuguese.

The match was played at a high tempo throughout with fierce tackles flying in from both sides.

Porto had the bulk of play in the second half and a packed Parkhead watched in agony as wave after wave of Porto attacks were repelled in the closing stages.

Although unable to talk to his players in the dressing room due to his Uefa ban, Celtic manager Martin O'Neill was able to name his strongest side.

He brought back Chris Sutton, Joos Valgaeren, Didier Agathe and Neil Lennon, who were all rested at the weekend.

Martin O'Neill watches from the stand
Martin O'Neill watches from the stand
After a hectic start, the home side settled down quickly and pushed Porto back with a series of slick passing moves.

But Porto looked dangerous on the break and Pena would have found a way through in the 15th minute but for a great sliding tackle from Bobo Balde.

A minute later, Celtic almost capitalised on some hesitancy in the Porto defence when Ricardo Carvalho headed Agathe's cross to Larsson but the Swede's flick spun away from goal and Bobby Petta's cross was cleared.

Soon after, Sutton had a chance to grab the glory following a great interchange with Larsson, but he snatched at his shot and blazed the ball over from just inside the box.

Stilian Petrov tried his luck in the 32nd minute when Petta teed him up for a strike, but his effort was saved at the second attempt by Ovchinnikov.

The breakthrough came four minutes later when Petta swung the ball in from a corner kick.

Larsson missed it at the first attempt but the ball bounced off Sutton and back into the path of the Swede who was sharp enough to fire home from close range.

Celtic pressed for another goal before the break and first Petta, then Sutton saw good heading opportunities at the back post blocked.

Porto started the second half brightly and enjoyed a lot of possession in their opponent's half of the pitch.

Celtic were given a let-off in the 56th minute when Carvalho cut inside Valgaeren, but shot straight at Robert Douglas with the goal at his mercy.

The home side suffered another scare moments later when Ibarra played Nuno Capucho clear inside the box, but his shot came back off the upright.

Chris Sutton surges forward for Celtic
Chris Sutton surges forward for Celtic
However, Celtic rallied and produced two great chances to extend their lead.

Ovchinnikov had to react smartly to push away a powerful Balde header on the hour and the Russian keeper was at full stretch a few minutes later to stop an Agathe header, which was creeping inside the post.

With six minutes remaining a great tackle from Petrov blocked Capucho on the 18 yard line.

As Porto poured forward, Celtic were creaking at the back and a fierce drive from substitute Alenitchev flew inches wide of the target.

The Russian had an angled close-range shot tipped wide by Douglas and from the resulting corner a flashing header from Carvalho shaved the post.


Celtic: Douglas, Balde, Mjallby, Valgaeren, Agathe, Lennon, Lambert, Petrov, Petta, Sutton, Larsson. Subs: Kharine, Sylla, McNamara, Thompson, Hartson, Tebily, Moravcik.

FC Porto: Ovchinnikov, Ibarra, Jorge Costa, Carvallo, Mario, Paredes, Andrade, Costinho, Deco, Capucho, Pena. Subs: Santos, Junior, Alenitchev, Candido Costa, Clayton, Ricardo Silva, Postiga.

Referee: J Dick (Holland).

See also:

24 Sep 01 |  Celtic
Celtic appeal dismissed
23 Sep 01 |  Scotland
Win some justice, lose some
21 Sep 01 |  Champions League
O'Neill given one-match ban
18 Sep 01 |  Champions League
Celtic rage at penalty
18 Sep 01 |  Champions League
Penalty denies brave Celtic
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