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Page last updated at 20:38 GMT, Tuesday, 30 September 2008 21:38 UK

Villarreal 1-0 Celtic

By David McDaid

Marcos Senna
Senna celebrates his goal which was enough for victory

A Marcos Senna free-kick was enough to consign Celtic to another away Champions League defeat, denting the Scottish side's last 16 hopes.

Villarreal posed the greater danger early on in the match, with Artur Boruc saving from Giuseppe Rossi.

Georgios Samaras spurned a wonderful opportunity to give Celtic the lead just before half-time.

And despite some dogged defending, Senna eventually beat Boruc with a curled free-kick on 67 minutes.

Celtic needed to take something from their second group E match, after a disappointing draw at home to Aalborg in match day one.

And despite a more mature away performance than those of recent seasons, the statistics make bleak reading with only one point from a possible 48 on their travels.

Worse still, Celtic now lie on one point alongside Aalborg, three points behind both Manchester United and Villarreal.

The Scottish champions made a confident start, but Villarreal fashioned the first effort on goal two minutes in, from Joseba Llorente after some neat build-up play.

Shaun Maloney and Aiden McGeady, recalled to the staring line-up, were providing outlets on the flanks for the Glasgow side to counter-attack at pace.

But, they found passing options limited with Samaras alone up front, even though the Greek again demonstrated the same energy and pace of recent weeks.

With 10 minutes on the clock Maloney tried his luck from a free-kick, but the former Aston Villa man was never going to trouble Diego Lopez from around 35 yards.

Moments later the Spaniards gave Celtic a wake-up call when Sebastian Eguren found space in the box but headed wide.

Celtic were playing well on the break, while the hosts looked dangerous whenever the triumvirate of Rossi, Santi Cazorla and Robert Pires got on the ball.

knockendownbhoy- 4 coming right up

However, for all the intricate football from the Spaniards, it was a long ball over the top on 20 minutes that presented them with their clearest chance to open the scoring.

The Celtic defence was caught out by Eguren's punt up-field, Rossi strode on to the ball, but Boruc raced out to save at the Italian's feet, and Llorente scooped the rebound over.

Soon after Llorente made Boruc save from a header, before McGeady had Lopez worried with a 25 yard shot that flew a yard wide.

Gordon Strachan's men had spells of possession, but Boruc was called into action again to tip over Rossi's powerful shot from Cazorla's cut-back towards the penalty spot.

Georgios Samaras
Samaras passed up the chance to give Celtic a first-half lead

Samaras had the perfect chance to give Celtic a half-time lead after Diego Godin made a hash of a long ball, but Lopez blocked the Greek's shot with his arm.

The second period began at a ferocious pace, and the match took on a real end-to-end feel.

Rossi shot inches wide of the Boruc's left post, while Samaras failed to connect with Mark Wilson's cross by the same margin.

As the half wore on McManus, Caldwell and Paul Hartley were at the heart of some solid Celtic defending, but Villarreal were tightening their grip on the game.

Marcos Senna forced Boruc to save a wicked swerving effort, as the Scottish side became pegged back in their own half.

And the Spanish international's persistence paid dividends on 67 minutes, when he curled a free-kick over the wall and inside Boruc's right-hand post for 1-0.

Scott McDonald was introduced for Maloney and nearly drew Celtic level with fierce, dipping volley which landed on the roof of the net.

Barry Robson and Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink replaced Shunsuke Nakamura and Hartley as Celtic tried in vain to get back in to the game, but the Spaniards greeted the final whistle as worthy winners.

Villarreal: Diego Lopez, Angel, Rodriguez, Godin, Capdevila, Santi Cazorla (Cani 90), Senna, Eguren, Pires (Bruno 83), Llorente, Rossi (Ibagaza 77).
Subs Not Used: Viera, Edmilson, Javi Venta, Fuentes.

Goals: Senna 67.

Celtic: Boruc, Wilson, Caldwell, McManus, Naylor, Nakamura (Robson 74), Scott Brown, Maloney (McDonald 72), Hartley (Vennegoor of Hesselink 82), McGeady, Samaras.
Subs Not Used: Mark Brown, Crosas, Loovens, Caddis.

Booked: Robson, Scott Brown.

Att: 25,000

Ref: Viktor Kassai (Hungary).

BBC Sport Player Rater man of the match: Marcos Senna (Villarreal) 7.58 points (on 90 minutes).

Please note that you can still give the players marks out of 10 on BBC Sport's Player Rater after the match has finished.

see also
Champions League as it happened
30 Sep 08 |  Europe
Champions League photos
30 Sep 08 |  Football

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