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banner Thursday, 22 November, 2001, 22:19 GMT
Valencia vanquish Celtic
Valencia have been beaten in the European Cup final for the last two seasons
Jackie McNamara tackles the scorer Rodriguez Vicente

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Valencia 1-0 Celtic

Valencia secured a narrow 1-0 win over Celtic thanks to Rodriguez Vicente's unstoppable shot 12 minutes from time in this third round first leg tie.

Valencia dominated the game and created numerous chances, but until Vicente's strike Robert Douglas had proved unbeatable.

The Celtic keeper made a number of important saves throughout the game.

Most impressive was his effort in the 69th minute when he tipped Curro Torres' header onto the post.

But after Neil Lennon had given away the free-kick for handball, Amedeo Carboni passed to Vicente, who blasted a powerful shot past Douglas.

Paul Lambert and Juan Pablo Aimar
Lambert beats Juan Pablo Aimar to the ball
Celtic manager Martin O'Neill acknowledged Douglas' contribution, adding that the result gave his side hope for the return leg.

"I was very pleased with the performance, given the players we were missing and the players we had to bring in," said O'Neill.

"We showed a lot of desire. Valencia have shown they are a very good side but in two weeks' time we are going to give it everything we have to try to get through."

Already hampered by a number of injuries, Celtic were further hit just before the kick-off by the loss of Chris Sutton because of a family illness.

Surprise lead

From the start Celtic had to concentrate on their defensive duties.

And as early as the fourth minute Johan Mjallby made an important block to deny Roberto Ayala's goal-bound strike.

Celtic had Douglas to thank for keeping them on level terms in the 10th minute.

Pablo Aimar spun in the box and his strike was pushed away by Douglas.

Celtic nearly grabbed a surprise lead in the 21st minute.

Moravcik swung in a dangerous corner which John Hartson nearly reached.

Lubo Moravcik and Vicente
Moravcik shields the ball from Vicente
Four minutes later and the Welshman had a glorious chance to break the deadlock.

He controlled Moravcik's pass on his chest and although he let the ball run away from him, he still got in a shot which Santiago Canizares saved at the second attempt.

A minute later, Stilian Petrov squandered an even better opportunity.

He beat the offside trap to run onto Henrik Larsson's pass. but with just the goalkeeper to beat, Petrov knocked the ball too far forward.

Then Valencia's Miguel Angulo picked out Carew at the near post, but the Norwegian failed to hit the target.

Rab Douglas then pulled off great saves from Aimar and Juan Sanchez in the dying seconds of the opening period.

Valencia: Canizares, Pellegrino, Ayala, Albelda, Carboni, Vicente, Aimar, Torres, Angulo, Sanchez, Carew. Subs: Palop, Djukic, Adrian Ilie, Marchena, Rufete, Mista, Salva.

Celtic: Douglas, Mjallby, Balde, Crainey, McNamara, Lambert, Lennon, Moravcik, Petrov, Larsson, Hartson. Subs: Gould, Sylla, Petta, Tebily, Healy, Maloney, Guppy.

Referee: Domenico Messina (Bergamo).

BBC Sport's Roddy Forsyth
"Celtic had their chances"
Celtic manager Martin O'Neill
"We have given ourselves a chance for the second leg"
See also:

19 Nov 01 |  Celtic
Agathe blow for Celtic
15 Nov 01 |  Scotland
BBC to show Old Firm Euro ties
Links to more Uefa Cup stories are at the foot of the page.


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