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2002-11-14: Blackburn Rovers 0-2 Celtic, UEFA Cup
|Match Pictures | The Road To Seville | Matches: 2002 - 2003 | 2002-2003 Pictures|
Blackburn 0-2 Celtic (Agg: 0-3)
Review"Men against Boys" it was said after the end of the first leg by arch-Hun Souness. This time though there was no doubt that it was "The Bhoys" who were on top, and Celtic stormed through easily with two cracking goals, first one from Larsson and then a sublime headed goal from Sutton from a corner. We could have won by more!!!
Blackburn & Souness left with their tails between their legs!
Friedel, Curtis (Gillespie 46), Short, Johansson, Neill, Thompson, Tugay, Dunn, Duff, Yorke (Jansen 64), Cole.
Subs: Todd, Grabbi, Ostenstad, Douglas, Kelly.
Douglas, Valgaeren, Balde, Laursen, Agathe (Sylla 82), Lennon, Petrov (Thompson 77), Sutton, Guppy, Larsson, Hartson (Lambert 67).
Subs: Fernandez, Maloney, Crainey, Gould.
Goals: Larsson (15), Sutton (68)
Referee: C Bolognino (Italy)
- Match Report - Celtic win Battle of Britain (BBC)
- Five Live Report (BBC)
- MoN Interview - "Determined to make a point.." (BBC)
- Souness Interview - "First Game Changed Everything" (BBC)
- Match Highlights (BBC)
Quotes'The gaffer said it was men against boys out there.'
Blackburn captain Gary Flicroft on Celtic after the first leg, 2003. Celtic won 1-0
'If Celtic score one then we can score three. Hopefully by 10pm tonight people will be saying 'Bloody hell, that Blackburn are a good side'.'
Graeme Souness prior to the second leg against Blackburn, 2003
Sutton's Bhoys own story
By Henry Winter
Published: 12:01AM GMT 15 Nov 2002
Blackburn Rovers (0) 0 Celtic (1) 2
Outplayed, out-thought and out-sung, Blackburn Rovers were put out of the UEFA Cup by a thoroughly superior Celtic side whose confident attacking had their fans singing loud and late into the night. Rovers' nemesis was the familiar figure of Chris Sutton, who created the first for Henrik Larsson and then headed a fine goal himself.
Organised and assertive, Celtic's players eclipsed their blue-and-white counterparts in every department in this second-round, second-leg tie. By the final whistle, as the ball flowed from Sutton to Larsson to Neil Lennon, the Scottish supporters were chanting "ole" and "easy".
With Sutton in such superb form, they certainly made light work of a disappointing, disjointed Blackburn. Sutton, a prolific figure alongside Alan Shearer in Rovers' 1995 championship season, had failed at Chelsea after exiting Ewood Park but was clearly determined to show an English audience that his talent remained. Graeme Souness, desperately missing the injured Garry Flitcroft, even re-jigged his formation at the break in an attempt to squeeze the space around the former England international. Celtic's No 9, having made Larsson's first-half opener, ignored the extra Blackburn bodies around him and promptly scored midway through the second half.
Versatility personified, Sutton was terrific last night, operating busily and intelligently in the hole role created for him by manager Martin O'Neill's decision to omit Paul Lambert from midfield in pursuit of the away goal which would require the hosts to score three times. With John Hartson proving a muscular accomplice for Larsson and Sutton lending creativity and energy in support, O'Neill's adventurous plan found near-instant reward. Within 15 minutes of a kick-off delayed through crowd congestion and the odd scrap outside, Celtic seized the away goal they craved.
The move was begun by Didier Agathe on the right, the wing-back sliding the ball inside to Sutton, danger growing with every second. Although Hartson slipped in pursuit of Sutton's clever through-ball, Larsson had gambled, the Sweden international making a run on the chance of the ball arriving. Hartson's slip distracted Craig Short and suddenly the space opened, the ball proceeding unimpeded to Larsson, whose finish was both deft and devastating, lifted over Brad Friedel with all the conviction of a serial scorer. The Darwen End, resembling the East End of Glasgow for the night, erupted in delight. Celtic had been allocated 8,000 tickets but fully 2,000 more had made the journey south to fill bars and empty off-licences.
The Old Firm would dearly love to join the Premiership party but whether the police authorities, let alone the football ones, would welcome regular Scottish invasions remains to be seen. Celtic taunts of "can we play you every week" carried extra significance. The Bhoys' supporters are a famously joyous bunch but tension could also be found as well as good-natured revelry on the streets of Lancashire. The last thing the Premiership needs is to be scarred by Anglo-Scottish spats every weekend. The sight of police and stewards forming a huge human barrier between the supports in one corner of Ewood Park told its own tale. From a footballing perspective, Celtic could clearly survive and prosper in the Premiership, particularly when enriched by television's millions. Players of the quality of Sutton and Larsson could happily hold their own in England as they proved against Blackburn.
"You'll never play in England," sang the Blackburn fans. Rovers, as befits a Souness side, sought to pass their way back into contention. David Thompson whipped in a pacy free-kick that swerved through the cold night air on to Rab Douglas's crossbar, sending the rain-drops spinning upwards. But the best chances kept falling to the superior visitors.
Hartson missed a sitter before Celtic netted their second in the 68th minute. This time it was a slick set-piece, the ball speeding from the right foot of Stilian Petrov at a corner towards Sutton, whose firm flicked header arrowed goalwards. Friedel tried to push it away but the power was too much.
Celtic put their unconvincing first-leg display behind them with a well-deserved second-leg victory to move into the third round. Henrik Larsson did the initial damage with an early goal that knocked Blackburn out of their stride.
John Curtis opened up the Celtic defence with an incisive pass to Andy Cole, but Douglas was quickly off his line to deny him a shot on goal. Douglas got down well to hold a Damien Duff effort in 14 minutes as the home side began to take control. But a minute later Celtic were ahead. Larsson latched onto a Sutton pass as Craig Short slipped and clipped the ball over Brad Friedel to put Celtic in the driving seat. David Thompson rifled in a powerful free kick after Neil Lennon was harshly penalised, but the ball shaved the bar, with Douglas getting a fingertip to the shot. Douglas again did well in 37 minutes, this time to cope with a deflection from David Dunn's shot, changing direction to clutch the ball safely. Stilian Petrov sent a long-range free kick wide, but Celtic were well in control by this stage, with Blackburn unable to put any moves of real quality together.
Larsson wasted no time in threatening the Blackburn goal at the beginning of the second half, firing just wide from outside the box. Hartson should have put the game beyond Blackburn within three minutes of the restart, but he ****** his shot with the goal gaping after Larsson's cutback was knocked into his path by Sutton. Sutton then came close himself, heading into the sidenetting from Steve Guppy's corner.
Cole looked to have finally beaten Douglas in 55 minutes with a cute lob, but the frontman was ruled offside, with Ulrik Laursen clearing off the line for good measure. Substitute Keith Gillespie shot wide before Cole tested Douglas with an angled drive that the keeper held at the second attempt. But Sutton ended the tie midway through the second half with a fantastic glancing header from Petrov's corner that Friedel could only palm into the roof of the net.
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