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Last Updated: Wednesday, 21 May, 2003, 22:28 GMT 23:28 UK
Unlucky Celtic punished for lapses
Alan Hansen
By Alan Hansen
BBC Sport

Porto striker Derlei
Derlei breaks Celtic hearts as he celebrates his winner

Celtic gave it their best shot - and a little bit more - and you have to say they were unlucky to lose.

It's been a real adventure following them along the way in the Uefa Cup, and they've been magnificent all the way through.

And they were magnificent again in the final.

We had the lot - drama, excitement, red cards, goals.

When you talk about the Celtic players and manager, you have to talk about grit, determination, resilience - but overall it's about their character.

All through the tournament they've kept coming back from the dead, but this time it was just too much for them.

It has to be said that the two goals they conceded in 90 minutes were both bad pieces of defending.

Porto's first goal just before half time was a bad time to concede.

There was a bad clearance, and then the defence seemed to switch off for a couple of seconds - that can be so costly at this level.

And Celtic could have prevented Porto's second goal, but defenders dived in unnecessarily and the centre-backs got pulled all over the place.

Martin O'Neill now needs to use all his man-management skills to get the players back up
It was such a shame for Rab Douglas about Porto's winner. He had an excellent game, but he really should have done better with the original shot.

Derlei did very well to keep his composure once he got the ball.

But let's not forget the contribution that Celtic made to the game though.

Once again, they reacted so bravely to going behind.

Henrik Larsson's leap and the placement on his first header were brilliant and just what Celtic deserved.

And as for the second, you won't see a better header than that all year.

Larsson scored two superb goals and led the line magnificently. To play as well as he did and still finish up on the losing side is quite unbelievable.

Unfortunately the game wasn't played in the best of spirits. The Porto players were rolling all over the pitch and there's no excuse for it.

Martin O'Neill now needs to use all his man-management skills to get the players back up.

They've got a massive game coming up at the weekend and it will be a big test to see if they can get re-motivated for Sunday and their last-day attempt to win the SPL.




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