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Page last updated at 21:36 GMT, Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Celtic 2-0 Villarreal

By Andy Campbell

Celtic player Shaun Maloney
Maloney (far left) heads Celtic into the lead

Celtic ended a disappointing Champions League campaign with a comfortable victory over 10-man Villarreal.

Shaun Maloney headed Celtic in front after 14 minutes before Villarreal's Guille Franco was sent off.

Aiden McGeady extended the home side's lead shortly before half-time with a left-foot strike.

Villarreal struggled to create chances after the break and had to settle for second place in Group E with Celtic finishing bottom.

The home side, who were looking for their first win of the tournament, started brightly with Sebastian Viera struggling to cope with Scott Brown's cross before being forced into a save by Maloney's shot.

At the other end, Franco tested keeper Artur Boruc with a fierce drive.

Andreas Hinkel then made an important tackle on Ariel Ibagaza who had found space on the edge of the Celtic box following a neat passing move.

The visitors looked dangerous on the counter attack and Mati Fernandez played a low cross towards Franco who shot wide under pressure from Gary Caldwell.

Celtic opened the scoring in the 14th minute when Viera failed to gather Mark Wilson's cross and Maloney nodded into an empty net.

Villarreal tried to hit back straight away and Hinkel and Stephen McManus needed to make crucial blocks in the six-yard box.

Celtic players celebrating
McGeady (centre) celebrates scoring Celtic's second

Edmilson should have hit the target with a free header from a corner in the 28th minute.

Swiss referee Claudio Circhetta consulted his assistant before showing Franco a red card in the 35th minute for violent conduct. The striker had been involved in an off-the-ball clash with Caldwell.

McGeady doubled Celtic's lead in first-half injury time.

The winger picked up the ball near the half-way line and progressed unchallenged towards the Villarreal box before firing home from the 18-yard line.

Celtic continued at a high tempo after the interval and Fabrico Fuentes cleared well as Samaras threatened to get on the end of Maloney's cross.

In a rare foray forward, Fernandez shot wide after evading two Celtic defenders.

Substitute Nihat Kahveci then beat the offside trap only to see his shot blocked by the advancing Boruc.

Shunsuke Nakamura, who worked tirelessly throughout, had a long-range effort saved comfortably by Viera and Brown also drew a save from the goalkeeper.

Caldwell had a good opportunity to head a third for Celtic late on but his effort from Paul Hartley's corner was blocked on the line by Viera.

The result means Villarreal missed the chance to win the group, with leaders Manchester United held to a draw by Aalborg, who had already secured third place.

Celtic: Boruc, Hinkel, Caldwell, McManus, Wilson (O'Dea 81), Nakamura, Scott Brown, Hartley, McGeady (McGowan 75), Maloney, Samaras (McDonald 81).
Subs Not Used: Mark Brown, Loovens, Mizuno, Caddis.

Booked: Caldwell, McGowan.

Goals: Maloney 14, McGeady 45.

Villarreal: Viera, Angel, Fuentes, Rodriguez, Bruno, Cani, Senna (Nihat 45), Edmilson, Fernandez, Franco, Ibagaza (Santi Cazorla 60).
Subs Not Used: Diego Lopez, Eguren, Pires, Cygan.

Sent Off: Franco (35). Booked: Edmilson, Senna, Angel, Ibagaza.

Att: 58,104

Ref: Claudio Circhetta (Switzerland)

BBC Sport Player Rater man of the match: Celtic's Shaun Maloney 7.84 (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.

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see also
Champions League as it happened
10 Dec 08 |  Europe
Champions League photos
10 Dec 08 |  Football
Man Utd 2-2 Aalborg
10 Dec 08 |  Europe

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