A tale of two set pieces – how Celtic sealed Champions League progression

TODAY marks fourteen years since Sir Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United pitched up in Glasgow ahead of a vital Champions League clash with Gordon Strachan’s Celtic looking to qualify for the Last 16.

Strachan, who played under Ferguson at Aberdeen and United, was hoping to get one up over his former gaffer after narrowly – and controversially – being beaten 3-2 at Old Trafford in the reverse fixture.

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In what was a tense, tactical affair, Celtic offered two solid banks of four with the two in attack looking to score against the English Champions that boasted stars like Rooney, Giggs, Ronaldo and Ferdinand.

Celtic looked content with sitting in, allowing United the ball but with little advances through on goal. Saha broke the lines a couple of times but Boruc or the defence scrambled to keep the game level.

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With 10 minutes remaining, Vidic ran into the back of Jarosik meaning Nakamura would have the chance to step up to a free kick from 30 yards out. It was harder than the effort at Old Trafford but that didn’t deter the man from Japan. A left footed curled shot looped over the wall and nestled into the top corner, leaving Edwin Van Der Saar with absolutely no chance.

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However, Manuel Gonzales decided to point to the spot adjudging to have blocked the shot with a hand giving Saha the chance to step up and level the game in its dying embers. Saha had made some poor efforts on goal but the Frenchman would have backed himself to handle the pressure with just Artur Boruc to beat.

Boruc guessed correctly and sent the supporters wild for the second time of the night.

Current United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer got the winner in the first game but there would be no famous turnaround for Sir Alex as Fergie Time came and went. Strachan had managed to do something that O’Neill had failed to do – qualify for the Last 16.

About Author

Born just as Celtic were stopping the Ten, Lubo98 follows Celtic home and away and helps run his local Celtic Supporters Club. He plans to be at every game until we get to the Ten ourselves. He's in his Honours Year studying Law and plans to specialise in Sports Law when he graduates. Has a particular fondness for Tom Rogic among the current Celts and both Lubo and Henrik form his earliest Celtic memories.

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