Jeff J Mitchell

UEFA Champions League: Celtic take down Barcelona while Chelsea win it late

Celtic put together a brilliant performance to defeat Barcelona, while Chelsea stunned Shakhtar Donetsk with a late winner in a brilliant day of Champions League action.

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28 Total Updates since November 7, 2012
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Galatasaray, Yilmaz smoke Cluj in Romania

Galatasaray went to Cluj and came away 3-1 winners to get level in Group H on four points.


United come back to win, book spot in knockouts

Manchester United looked uninspired for most of their visit to Braga, but they came back late to win 3-1 and book a spot in the knockout stages.


Juve easily dispatch of Nordsjaelland

Juventus did what was expected of them on Wednesday with an emphatic home win over FC Nordsjaelland.


Benfica and Cardozo dominate Spartak

A brace from Óscar Cardozo was all Benfica needed to defeat a less than impressive Spartak Moscow


Victor Moses rescues Chelsea

Chelsea are back in control of their own destiny in the UEFA Champions League, following their victory over Shakhtar Donetsk. In a thriller, substitute Victor Moses grabbed a stoppage time winner.


Watt happened?! Celtic defeats Barca, that's Watt!

Victor Wanyama put Celtic ahead in the first half and 18-year-old Tony Watt sealed the victory late as the Hoops stunned Barcelona at Celtic Park


Pyatov's errors gift lead to Chelsea

Shakhtar Donetsk have played well for the first 45 minutes of their match at Stamford Bridge, but they trail Chelsea thanks to two terrible errors by Andriy Pyatov. The Shakhtar keeper is having a horrible day at the office, and he's the only reason that the Blues lead 2-1 at halftime.

Fernando Torres got credit for the first goal of the match, though it was a bit of a gift. Pyatov provided a great assist with an attempted clearance that hit Torres before going into the back of the net. It might be more fair to chalk up this one as an own goal, rather than a goal for Torres

The visitors equalized three minutes later with a brilliant goal. Fernandinho provided the assist with a fantastic surging run into the box towards the byline and a cutback towards the penalty spot. Willian positioned himself perfectly and applied the finish.

Pyatov's second glaring error came in the 40th minute. Juan Mata appeared to pick out Torres in space with a great diagonal, but Pyatov rushed off his line to head clear. He probably should have headed out for a throw, but instead directed the ball right to Oscar, who took one touch before smacking a perfect 40-yard strike into the back of the net to restore his team's lead.


Celtic lead Barcelona, can they finish the job?

Celtic took the lead in the first half at the Camp Nou and they did it again today at Celtic Park. Barcelona out-shot the home side 10 to 1 in the first half, but that lone attempt for Celtic went in the goal and that's all that really matters.

After earning a corner in the 20th minute, Victor Wanyama completely abused Jordi Alba at the far post, heading Charlie Mulgrew's perfectly placed corner past Victor Valdés. Alba made zero attempt to leave the group, attempting to corral Wanyama with elbows and hands as the midfielder easily skied over him. As the Celtic players celebrated behind the goal, Neil Lennon and the Celtic supporters went bonkers.

Lionel Messi nearly equalized for Barca in the 29th minute as his shot pinged off the crossbar after being every so slightly deflected by Fraser Forster. Alexis had his chance in the 37th minute, beating Forster with a header off a Dani Alves cross but the ball bounced off the post.

Frustrating half for Barcelona but there were plenty of chances for the Blaugrana. Celtic have a ton of work to do if they want to keep Barca from making another second half comeback.


Cluj debuts a new head coach against Galatasaray

Paulo Sergio's first match in charge of Cluj is a big one, with a chance to all but secure a spot in the Round of 16 there for the taking. Rafael Bastos and Modou Sougou were both in doubt for Cluj and while Sougou made the starting lineup, Bastos did not. So in comes Pantelis Kapetanos to fill the role.

Galatasary's lineup is fairly standard with the only adjustment being due to the loss of Johan Elmander to a thigh injury. Burak Yilmaz replaces the Swede in Fatih Terim's starting lineup. Anything less than a win today likely ends the Turkish sides hopes of advancing out of the group.

CFR Cluj starting lineup (4-4-1-1): Mário Felgueiras; Ivo Pinto, László Sepsi, Felice Piccolo, Cadú; Camora, Gabriel Mureșan, Nicolas Godemèche, Luís Alberto; Pantelis Kapetanos, Modou Sougou.

Galatasary starting lineup (4-4-2): Fernando Muslera; Cris, Dany Nounkeu, Emmanuel Eboué, Hamit Altintop; Selçuk İnan, Albert Riera, Yekta Kurtuluş, Emre Çolak; Burak Yilmaz, Umut Bulut.


Valencia vs. BATE Borisov: Lineups

BATE Borisov were, once upon a time, in very good shape to qualify from Group F. An away win at Lille was followed by an upset of Bayern Munich, and for the opening 45 minutes against Valencia, they were looking in pretty good shape there as well. Then Roberto Soldado struck, notching a hattrick to blow a big old hole in the Belorussians' chances of a fairytale escape from a difficult group.

Now they have to face The Soldaldo once more, and, worse, they'll do so in the seething cauldron of the Estabio Mestalla. Not an easy ask, that... but BATE have done crazy things before.

CF Valencia (4-2-3-1): Vicente Guaita; Aly Cissokho, Adil Rami, Rui Costa, Joao Pereira; Fernando Gago, Tino Costa, Gago; Andres Guardado, Jonas, Sofiane Feghouli; Roberto Soldado.

BATE Borisov (4-1-4-1): Andrey Gorbunov; Maksim Bordachev, Artyom Radkov, Yegor Filipenko, Denis Polyakov; Dzmitry Likhtarovich; Dzmitry Baha, Alexandr Hleb, Renan Bressan, Aliaksandr Volodko; Vitali Rodionov.


Manchester United rest stars for Braga match

Manchester United have named a very attacking team, while taking the opportunity to rest a couple of players for the weekend. They have a five-point cushion on top of their group, so they can probably afford to take this one a bit lightly. Rio Ferdinand sits out and makes way for Chris Smalling, who will start for the first time this season. Antonio Valencia is playing left back, while Anderson and Ryan Giggs make up the Red Devils' midfield. Robin van Persie is rested.

Braga have some players back from injury and some new fitness issues to deal with as well, so their team is very different than the one that faced United in the last round.

Manchester United starting lineup (4-2-3-1): David De Gea; Patrice Evra, Jonny Evans, Chris Smalling, Antonio Valencia; Ryan Giggs, Anderson; Danny Welbeck, Wayne Rooney, Nani; Javier Hernandez

Braga starting lineup (4-2-3-1): Beto; Elderson, Nuno Andre, Douglao, Ruben Amorim; Custodio, Hugo Viana; Leandro Salino, Ruben Micael, Alan; Eder

Kickoff is at 2:45 p.m. ET, and the game can be seen on FOX Soccer in the U.S. and Sky Sports 2 in the U.K.


Benfica and Spartak forced in to adjustments

Two teams with key players missing and both needing a win. It's either a recipe for a wide open and entertaining match or a snooze fest as both sides attempt to be careful, afraid to open up too much and give their opponent a chance to take advantage. We'll have to see.

The big changes for Benfica are in the midfield where André Almeida replaces the suspended Nemanja Matic while Enzo Peréz slots in the center of the midfield for the injured Carlos Martins.

Spartak also has their adjustments caused by injuries. Aiden McGeady and Emmanuel Emenike are both out, so Ari starts up top as the lone striker, while Kirill Kombarov takes over in the midfield.

Benfica starting lineup (4-1-3-2): Artur Moreas; Maxi Pereira, Ezequiel Garay, Lorenzo Melgarejo, Jardel; André Almeida, Enzo Peréz, Ola John, Eduardo Salvio; Lima, Rodrigo.

Spartak Moscow lineup (4-2-3-1): Artem Rebrov; Juan Insaurralde, Nicolás Pareja, Evgeni Makeev; Kim Källström, Rafel Carioca, José Manuel Jurado, Kirill Kombarov, Dmitri Kombarov, Diniyar Bilyaletdinov; Ari.


Bayern Munich vs. Lille: Lineups

Bayern Munich are resting both Toni Kroos and Mario Mandzukic for Lille's visit to the Allianz Arena, which should be something approximating a walk in the park for last year's runners up. LOSC have zero points from their first three games, having lost to BATE Borisov and Bayern in France, and with the hosts in very good good form this season it's difficult to see them getting a result today. The visitors do receive a double boost in defence, however, as both Marko Basa and Mathieu Debuchy make surprise returns from injury. Whether or not that will be enough to contain a Bayern side capable of ripping most teams apart is yet to be determined.

Bayern Munich (4-2-3-1): Manuel Neuer; David Alaba, Dante, Jerome Boateng, Philipp Lahm; Javi Martinez, Bastian Schweinsteiger; Franck Ribery, Thomas Mueller, Arjen Robben; Claudio Pizarro.

Lille OSC (4-3-3): Mickael Landreau; Franck Beria, Aurelian Chedjou, Marko Basa, Mathieu Debuchy; Benoit Pedretti, Florent Balmont, David Rozenhal; Dmitri Payet, Nolan Roux, Salomon Kalou.


No surprises in Juve, Nordsjaelland lineups

Juventus and Nordsjaelland have no surprises in their squads for their Champions League encounter on Wednesday. The Old Lady have made two changes from the team that drew in Denmark, but both were expected. Kwadwo Asamoah has been picked ahead of Paolo De Ceglie, while Andrea Barzagli is in for Lucio. Nordsjaelland have made no changes to their team.

Juventus starting lineup (3-5-2): Gianluigi Buffon; Giorgio Chiellini, Leonardo Bonucci, Andrea Barzagli; Kwadwo Asamoah, Arturo Vidal, Andrea Pirlo, Claudio Marchisio, Mauricio Isla; Sebastian Giovinco, Alessandro Matri

FC Nordsjaelland starting lineup (4-2-3-1): Jesper Hansen; Patrick Mtiliga, Jores Okore, Ivan Runje, Michael Parkhurst; Enoch Adu, Nicolai Stokholm; Joshua John, Kasper Lorentzen, Andreas Laudrup; Mikkel Beckmann

Regardless of what happens at Stamford Bridge, anything but a win would be a disaster for Juventus. Both Chelsea and Shakhtar will be expecting wins over Nordsjaelland in the second half of the group stage, and both also drew Juventus last time around. The bianconeri are going to be in deep trouble if they don't get three points from this match.


Georgios Samaras starts for Celtic against Barca

No major lineup surprises from either side at Celtic Park, but the home side have gotten a boost as their in-doubt forward Georgios Samaras will start for the first time since he left the last match against Barcelona with an ankle injury.

The big news for Celtic is that Samaras is able to start, of course he might not be able to go the full 90 minutes but having him in the lineup is a big boost for Neil Lennon. Samaras was a big part of Celtic's near-success at the Camp Nou and having the big Greek striker on the pitch makes a difference. With Gary Hooper out, Miku replaces him in the lineup.

Tito Vilanova decided to play it safe and start Marc Barta over Gerard Piqué (who is on the bench). Considering is just returning from an extended injury absence and it's definitely not match fit, it's a smart move. It also helped that Barta and Javier Mascherano played extremely well against Celtic two weeks ago. Alex Song replaces Sergio Busquets as the deep defensive midfielder as Busquets is still serving a suspension.

Celtic starting lineup (4-4-1-1): Fraser Forster; Mikael Lustig, Efe Ambrose, Kelvin Wilson, Adam Matthews; Kris Commons, Victor Wanyama, Joe Ledley, Charlie Mulgrew; Miku, Georgios Samaras.

Barcelona starting lineup (4-3-3): Víctor Valdés; Dani Alves, Marc Bartra, Javier Mascherano, Jordi Alba; Alex Song, Xavi, Andrés Iniesta; Pedro Rodríguez, Lionel Messi, Alexis Sánchez.


John Terry benched against Shakhtar

John Terry, who hasn't been able to play in domestic matches for Chelsea due to a suspension, has been left out of their Champions League starting XI on Wednesday. It's a bit of a surprising move, given that David Luiz had to pass a late fitness test to be able to play against Shakhtar Donetsk. Frank Lampard remains out for Chelsea, while Ryan Bertrand replaces the newly injured Ashley Cole.

Shakhtar had no injury concerns, and have named a team with no surprises or particularly notable selections. Alex Texeira, who scored against Chelsea in Ukraine, will be one to watch during the match as he goes up against Bertrand.

Chelsea starting lineup (4-2-3-1): Petr Cech; Ryan Bertrand, Gary Cahill, David Luiz, Branislav Ivanovic; John Obi Mikel, Ramires; Eden Hazard, Oscar, Juan Mata, Fernando Torres

Shakhtar Donetsk starting lineup (4-2-3-1): Andriy Pyatov; Ravzan Rat, Yaroslav Rakitskiy, Oleksandr Kucher, Darijo Srna; Tomas Hübschman, Fernandinho; Willian, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Alex Teixeira; Luiz Adriano

Kickoff is at 2:45 p.m. ET. You can catch the game on FOX Soccer Plus in the U.S. and Sky Sports 3 in the U.K.


Old Lady need bounceback performance

It's been a rough couple of weeks for Juventus, between the end of their undefeated streak at the hands of their fiercest rivals and their draw against Nordsjaelland. The Danish side might have a tougher time with the Old Lady in Turin his week.


Blues must avoid loss to Shakhtar

Following their loss in Ukraine during the last round, Chelsea need to avoid a loss at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday.


Celtic will try again to topple a Spanish giant

Celtic must overcome injuries and their disappointing last second loss at the Camp Nou to try and keep their Round of 16 hopes alive


CFR Cluj and Galatasaray both seek win in Romania

CFR Cluj and Galatasaray will both be looking for a win in their Group H clash as they look to progress to the first knockout round.


United almost through, Braga up for fight

Braga are hopeful they can get something from their clash against Manchester United as the race for the 2nd spot in Group H heats up.


Bayern should steamroll LOSC

Lille have zero points in Group F. They're travelling to the Allianz Area. You do the math on this one.


Valencia expected to see off BATE

Roberto Soldado scored a hattrick in Belarus the last time these two teams met. What are the odds that BATE will be able to get a result in Spain? Hint: They're low.


Benfica need a win, but so do Spartak

Benfica faces a must-win match at home against a Spartak side missing their best two attacking options

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