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2004-03-25: Barcelona 0-0 Celtic, UEFA Cup
|Match Pictures | 2003 - 2004 | 2003-2004 Pictures|
Barcelona 0-0 Celtic2nd round leg
(1st leg Celtic 1-0 Barcelona)
The memories flood back for this game. We were drawn to play Barcelona in the UEFA after another glorious failure to progress to the next round of the Champs lge, but after Seville the year before we were not dispondent. Drawing Barcelona though was never going to be easy, and quite simply as they were the in form side in Europe at that point (Barcelona had just won their 9th straight La Liga game!), so the odds were likely against us. BUT we are Celtic and we have proven against the odds before, and in this one we were taking a hard fought but contentious victory from our first leg at Parkhead down to Camp Nou.
No Rab Douglas (due to a ridiculous sending off in the first game due to a fracas in the tunnel), no Bobo Balde either (suspended for the game also), so in were drafted the inexperienced John Kennedy and David Marshall. Team as below:
Agathe Varga Kennedy McNamara(c)
Petrov Lennon Pearson Thompson
If optimism wasn’t low enough amongst the faithful, then we could always rely on the Daily Record to help us out with the back page of George Haji slating our chances (cheers lads!). Anyhow, if nothing else then we were going to have a party, with around 30,000 travelling over, and taking over the Ramblas (the Sauchiehall Street in Barcelona) and turning it Green and White! We kept the Green flags flying high all over the place, and you would never have thought it was Spain at times, whilst the Spanish were incredibly friendly, and the banter was generally good natured.
The street musicians were right pests though, and after the 1,001,334th time of hearing “Henrik Larsson is the King of Kings” on the accordion I wanted to jump off the rooftops! Street football and sing a longs were order of the day in the squares, and there was a whole street full of Irish(sic!) pubs. The street artists didn’t know what they were facing when we ribbed each and all as we strolled up and down the Ramblas, most of the entertainers taking it in jest.
Anyhow, back to the game, and this was the star studded team we were up against:
Reiziger Puyol Olegeur
Xavi Cocu (c) Gerard Gabri
“Luis Enrique” “Luis Garcia” Ronaldinho
Manager: Frank Rijkaard
Ronaldinho, the best footballer in the world up against us! Oh Boy! Viva la Barca!
First blood was to Celtic on the night, as unaware to many of us when we paid for our tickets that we were to bring the weather with us! It was lashing down for the hour or two before the game, and this kept many Barca fans from turning up, scuppering my chances of getting any tickets for the game at all. Beneficially, it meant kinder weather and conditions to the Celtic team relative to the Barca boys, and helped level things up a bit more. The Barca board would not sanction extra release of tickets to allow us in, so only 7-8000 Celts were in the ground, but more then made themselves known.
The game began, and it was backs against the walls for our boys. Great passing from both sides, but no point denying Barca’s gulf in superior skills to ours. Then in the first minute Ronaldinho threaded through a wonderful ball in the box to Gerard and a great chance for a great goal, but David Marshall bravely parries the ball away from his feet and we can breathe a sigh of relief! Phew! Actually this was the pattern for the rest of the match. Gerard header down to Marshall’s left and another fine save, Garcia from the right and a great cross/shot at goal and Marshall smartly parries it over the bar, a goal mouth scramble and Marshall parries the ball away with a great reflex save and so on. And this was all just the first 15mins!
Marshall wasn’t the only great, as John Kennedy was also displaying ability and experience beyond his years, where amongst other great moments executed a great tackle on Ronaldinho in the box taking the ball away from him where some were shouting penalty but it wasn’t. He harried Ronaldinho and pushed him whenever he came close, clearing lines as need be, and helped to shepherd the defence greatly, having to compensate for the lack of speed from Varga.
We ourselves, to be honest, never made too many chances in the game, ending up defending for most of the time (not exactly the “Glasgow Celtic Way”), but these moments at least give the defence a respite.
The second half in particular was an anxious 45mins, and in the main followed the same pattern as the first in many ways. Barcelona were increasingly frustrated, unable to break down our defence, but both our youngsters, Marshall and Kennedy, were colossuses. Easily Marshall’s goalkeeping performance was the greatest goalkeeping I have ever seen by any Scottish goalkeeper ever, truly tremendous.
Personally, I was biting my nails tense as hell shacked up with all the other Tims in the pub anxious and nervous that we were seeing a great achievement beyond our dreams in some ways, the emotions were so high. Each second ticked by, and I got more nervous, but more great saves and tackles came but it was still all very close.
And then that was it, the final whistle!!! We’d held out.
The emotions after the result in the whole of the Green and White universe were amongst the greatest you could imagine. In some ways it was incredible after the anti-climax of Seville, and to reach the quarter-finals of the UEFA Cup, the prize for beating Barca, for the second year in a row was vindication of MoN’s managerial ability (no simple luck in doing that twice). I had never felt so high, I never hugged so many people in joy or kissed so many women, it was as if we'd just won the lottery!
Celtic boss Martin O'Neill about our hero for the night: "Marshall rose in stature and was fantastic", and that is as succinct as you can put his performance in that game.
This simply was MoN’s greatest managerial moment and achievement IMO (not Seville). It has been sidelined too much (or even forgotten) but this was against the odds big time. We had beaten one of the genuine top teams in Europe over two legs. Not always a pretty game to watch, but exciting and tense, and the feeling will never leave me. A game that surely needs to be rediscovered by many (especially by the doubters).
In any case, Seville was more than just the game and that is why it is remembered more than this one. A mini-Seville Carnival it was in Barcelona, and I for one will never forget it, or let it be so!
Spanish welcomeThe fans may have drunk the town dry, but we wer made so welcome, that I have to highlight the great little article as follows:
"You'll never drink alone" - Mundo Deportivo
Valdes, Reiziger (Overmars 53), Puyol (Marquez 34), Oleguer, Xavi, Cocu, Gerard, Gabri, Luis Enrique (Sergio 64), Ronaldinho, Luis Garcia.
Subs Not Used:- Rustu, Quaresma, Iniesta, Oscar Lopez.
Marshall, Kennedy, McNamara (Miller 52), Varga, Agathe, Lennon, Pearson, Petrov, Thompson, Larsson, Sutton (Sylla 83).
Subs Not Used:- McGovern, Lambert, Mjallby, Beattie, Smith.
Referee: Domenico Messina (Italy).
Quotes:MoN on the game
"It was a fabulous effort - the players are all out on their feet. They were amazing to keep going like they did.
"Some of our younger players really came of age out there,"
Marshall on the game
"We just thought if we got a goal, we would have a chance but to keep a clean sheet in the Nou Camp was unbelievable"
"In the first half, they were saves I expected to make but I made a good one in the second period. I was just pleased to help the team."
MoN on Marshall
"He walked into the dressing room to fantastic applause from the rest of the side."
“I thought David Marshall was absolutely excellent and the players in front of him were terrific.
“I did have great faith in him because he has terrific ability and I have been saying that for some considerable time.
“Tonight was a really big match for him. He made a terrific save at the feet of one of the Barcelona players in the first two minutes of the game.
“He definitely has risen in stature. One of his saves in the second half was from point-blank range to tip over the bar which was absolutely fantastic.
“He did a TV interview after the game and was the last one in the dressing room and when he came in there was an enormous applause for him off his team-mates.
“I didn’t say anything to him but just to try and go out and enjoy it. That was my only message to him.
“With David you just don’t know how he is because he is so laid back. I am sure he is nervous but he has a terrific presence and calmness. He doesn’t get fazed.
“I said to him after the game that it’s downhill from here – he should just retire after tonight.”
Henke on Marshall
(Celtic striker Henrik Larsson hailed Marshall's ice-cool display, but joked that his tender age had played its part.)
"I think he is too young to have any nerves - he doesn't realise how big it was," said the Swede.
"He was tremendous - from the first minute of the game onwards.
"The save he made from Luis Garcia in the second half was outstanding.
"I don't think you can have a better full European debut so I'm very pleased for him."
"I remember there being a great atmosphere in both games. But I will always remember the return tie in Barcelona as being very special because I went to their chapel just before kick off. I went there with Martin O’Neill to pray and it was very strange to do this before a game. It was about 10 minutes from kick-off. I remember I had my Celtic kit on at the time. We then walked out and on to the pitch and the stadium was massive. We played very well that night, especially in defence."
- Match Reports (see below)
- The Beating of Barca
Celtic survive the Barça storm
Matt Scot at Camp Nou
The Guardian, Friday 26 March 2004 02.24 GMT
Larsson and Puyol
Larsson and Puyol face the music and dance
Celtic's healthy disrespect for reputations prevailed once more last night. Barcelona, the highest ranked of the Uefa Cup sides, became the latest vaunted adversary to stumble against Scottish tenacity.
Why the former European champions are not accorded a status equal to the sides they have so often beaten in their two long runs in this competition is unclear. Perhaps, though, they would have it no other way, so adept are they at capitalising on any complacency in their opponents.
"Over two legs we have knocked out a very, very good team," said Celtic's manager Martin O'Neill. "I still think we are punching above our weight. But this is not about credit; I know what this side is capable of doing."
Now he knows a little more. O'Neill had determined the pursuit of the away goal to be the imperative but such was the obduracy of Celtic's defence that his concerns proved unfounded.
So fluid were Barcelona that they enjoyed almost 70% of the possession in this daunting arena, taxing every fibre of Celtic's mental strength.
Barcelona's counter-attacking, at first beginning with Carles Puyol and almost always involving the Brazilian Ronaldinho, had Celtic chasing so many shadows.
It would have been a fearful time for those Celtic fans unacquainted with David Marshall, the young understudy to the suspended Rab Douglas. Even here, though, this bold young goalkeeper showed no signs of stage fright.
"He has a terrific presence and calmness, he's not fazed at all," said O'Neill. "I said to him it's all downhill from here, he should pack it in and retire tonight.
"He did an interview for TV after the match and was last into the dressing room. When he came in it was to enormous applause from the rest of his team-mates."
Marshall's first touch, in the first minute, was unsteady, slicing his clearance from Jackie McNamara's back-pass. Yet within a few seconds he had atoned. With a typically inch-perfect through-ball Ronaldinho sent Gerard through with only the Celtic keeper to beat. Marshall's decisive and, crucially, clean lunge denied him a certain goal.
The contribution to the 19-year-old's confidence was equally clear and he had no jitters when again confronted by Gerard. Again the source was Ronaldinho, a cross from the left wing that produced a smart stop to keep out a low header.
Barcelona were pouring forwards and again Marshall had to rise in stature to claw away Luis Enrique's ad-libbed attempt, a slap off the thigh that somehow appeared to be heading for the net.
Scottish and Irish nerves jangled and for no one more than O'Neill, whose jack-in-the-box forays prompted chidings from the fourth official.
O'Neill's touchline intemperance is legendary but even he must have been cheered by the exit of Puyol, the sturdy yet silky centre-back, who succumbed in the first half to the hip injury that had cast doubt over his participation.
It meant that, ravaged by injury and suspension, Barça were now missing six likely starters from their best line-up.
As time ebbed away, and with each interception from Stanislav Varga and John Kennedy, Celtic's ascendancy grew. But they received a jolt on the stroke of half-time as Luis Garcia held up the ball for Michael Reiziger, whose shot thundered just past Marshall's left post.
Celtic have experience of this competition, having valiantly reached last season's final. Defeat in that match left a sour taste, as the Glasgow side were so deceived by the simulation from Porto's players.
Yet such experience can be put to subsequent use and there was an understandable lack of urgency at throw-ins, with McNamara also making no attempt to hurry his departure with an injury.
Frank Rijkaard responded to the substitution with a tactical change that saw Reiziger replaced by Marc Overmars, producing a tripartite attack of the Dutchman, Luis Enrique and Luis Garcia, with Ronaldinho slightly more withdrawn.
Liam Miller was charged with filling his captain's boots in a defence that was already missing Bobo Balde, and Luis Garcia almost took advantage with a curling shot.
The Spaniard's next shot, though, might have been laser targeted. Celtic, perhaps lulled that the feared Ronaldinho had laid off the ball to his team-mate, again owed much to Marshall's athleticism, just as they did when he parried Sergio Garcia's ferocious shot.
For Barcelona, challenging for the La Liga title must be the consolation. For Celtic, these nights of unbridled European joy seem their destiny for a long while yet.
Barcelona 0-0 CelticESPN
Teenage goalkeeper David Marshall produced a stunning display in the Nou Camp as Celtic enjoyed one of their greatest European nights.
The Glasgow side clung onto a 1-0 lead from Parkhead to book their place in the quarter-final of the UEFA Cup, and a tie with Villareal, thanks in the main to the heroics of the 19-year-old.
It was an incredible answer to those who doubted that the youngster and Celtic's walking wounded would be up for the challenge.
Manager Martin O'Neill took a gamble with Chris Sutton, Alan Thompson, Stanislav Varga and Didier Agathe all declaring themselves fit to play but that paid off.
Marshall was given an unnecessary test after just 20 seconds when skipper Jackie McNamara's mis-hit backpass had the goalkeeper stretching to keep the ball from going for a corner.
But a minute later the rookie keeper produced a brilliant save to prevent Barcelona from scoring which would have done his nerves the world of good.
Puyol did brilliantly to cut in from the right touchline before finding Ronaldinho. The Brazilian threaded Gerard through on goal and he would have scored but Marshall raced off his line to flick the ball away from his feet.
Celtic then had a great chance to get a vital away goal when Sutton played Henrik Larsson through on goal but he could not find the pace to get away and Puyol made a great tackle.
The visitors almost paid the price for missing that chance when Barcelona went close to scoring again in the ninth minute.
Ronaldinho picked out Gerard again but his header from eight yards out was again superbly saved by Marshall to his right.
The youngster again had to be alert moments later to tip Garcia's dipping long-range effort over the crossbar.
But Marshall bettered even that in the 13th minute when Ronaldinho flicked on Xavi's corner to Luis Enrique at the back post but Marshall pushed away his header with a fantastic reaction save to come to his side's rescue again.
Ronaldinho was running the show but Italian referee Domenico Messina was not interested in his laughable claims for a penalty after 21 minutes. The South American ran at the Celtic defence menacingly but a well-timed challenge from Scotland Under-21 defender John Kennedy saved his side.
The World Cup winner was at his best again, two minutes later, when he ghosted past Didier Agathe and cut the ball back to Luis Garcia but Varga made a desperate block to deny him.
Celtic were given a lift though in the 34th minute when Puyol limped off and Frank Rijkaard brought on Rafael Marquez.
They finally tested Victor Valdes moments later when he looked as if he might fumble Larsson's long-range snapshot but he hung onto the ball with Thompson pouncing.
The Englishman was then in the wars to give his manager some concern five minutes before the break after being caught late by Ronaldinho but he soldiered on.
Marshall was again called into action in the final minute of the half to save Xavi's dipping and awkward long-range strike.
He would have not got near Michael Reiziger's late strike, after good work from Ronaldinho and Luis Garcia, but fortunately for Celtic it flew past the upright.
McNamara was quickly hurt after the restart when he needed treatment after appearing to collide with Kennedy as they went in for a challenge with Garcia. The Scot was obviously in some distress and he was replaced by Manchester United-bound Miller in the 50th minute.
Barcelona started to get jittery and Ronaldinho was becoming more ineffective as the clock ticked down. But they still threatened and Garcia curled a superb left-footed effort just past the post in the 58th minute after being picked out on the right flank by Gabri.
Celtic knew they would could get chances the longer the game went on and Larsson should have done better again in the 62nd minute.
Petrov burst forward and burst into the area but he checked back and curled a harmless left-footed effort into the hands of Valdes.
Rijkaard made another change in the 64th minute by bringing on Sergio Garcia for Enrique before Petrov headed Agathe's cross high into the crowd.
Having been quiet for a while Ronaldinho sprung to life again in the 67th minute when he flew into the area and only a block from Marshall near the touchline stopped him.
Moments later he teed the ball up for Gabri but his shot was stopped again by the inspired youngster.
Marshall pulled out another incredible point-blank save in the 70th minute when he tipped Garcia's volley, from Xavi's cross, over the crossbar.
The pressure was relentless from the home side and Sergio Garcia headed wide from Gabri's cross in the 73rd minute.
But Marshall was refusing to give up to his side's lead and he denied Garcia again moments later when he flung himself to his left to turn the ball around the post.
The Barcelona bench, and in particularly Puyol were animated at the side of the pitch as Celtic continued to frustrate them before the final whistle arrived to put the travelling fans out of their misery and spark emotional scenes in the Nou Camp and in Glasgow.
Celtic stun BarcelonaBarcelona 0-0 Celtic (agg:0-1)
UEFA CUP FOURTH ROUND SECOND-LEG
Ronaldinho and Didier Agathe challenge
More Uefa Cup photos
Rookie goalkeeper David Marshall was the hero as Celtic progressed to the Uefa Cup quarter-finals at the expense of mighty Barcelona.
The 19-year-old made a string of fabulous saves as the Catalan giants pressed to claw back the 1-0 deficit from the first leg at Celtic Park.
Barcelona enjoyed the bulk of possession but could not break down the hard-working Scottish side.
John Kennedy was another Celtic star, making a number of great tackles.
The home side started at a whirlwind pace and Celtic had to withstand a constant barrage of attacks right from the off.
An incisive move involving Carles Puyol and Ronaldinho found Gerard Lopez bursting into the penalty area inside the first minute and Marshall needed to make a great save at the midfielder's feet.
With six minutes gone Henrik Larsson found himself in behind the Barcelona defence but the striker lacked the pace to get away from Puyol.
Marshall then had to smother a header from Gerard, tip over a dangerous cross from Luis Garcia and make a wonderful reflex stop to keep out an awkward close-range attempt from Luis Enrique.
Celtic were finding it hard to hold on to the ball but Neil Lennon, Stilian Petrov and Alan Thompson were beginning to win more tackles in front of their under-pressure defence and disrupt the flow of the home side.
Brazilian ace Ronaldinho was showing lots of neat touches but twice his jinking runs were brought to a shuddering halt by perfectly-timed tackles from Kennedy.
David Marshall tips over a shot from Luis Garcia
Young David Marshall made some fantastic saves
As half-time approached Marshall was able to gather a long range effort from Xavi and Michael Reiziger's blistering shot was deflected wide.
Didier Agathe made a foray deep into Barcelona territory but delayed his pass, with Larsson and Chris Sutton available, and the chance was gone.
Barcelona could not find the easy rhythm they displayed in the early stages but Celtic were again guilty of giving possession away cheaply.
The home side were laying siege to the Celtic penalty area and Luis Garcia's curling shot drifted narrowly wide of the post.
Larsson was given a glimpse of goal but Victor Valdes held the shot comfortably, while Petrov headed high and wide as Celtic hit on the break.
Well done mighty Celtic and David Marshall, only 19, big thanks for a memorable game
From Voice of the silent masses
Have your say on 606
Ronaldinho had the crowd on their feet with a driving run into the box but Marshall was out quickly to block. The youngster then had to keep out a stinging drive from Gabri.
Marshall then made a breath-taking save to tip over a 10-yard volley from Luis Garcia that looked bound for the top corner of the net.
Barcelona substitute Sergio Garcia headed wide at the back post and saw his 75th minute shot pushed wide by the flying Marshall.
In the final 10 minutes Stanislav Varga and Kennedy made vital interceptions to thwart frantic Barcelona attacks.
Having completed a brilliant victory over one of Europe's elite clubs, Celtic, last season's beaten finalists, now face Spanish side Villareal in the last eight of the competition.
Barcelona: Valdes, Reiziger (Overmars 53), Puyol (Marquez 34), Oleguer, Xavi, Cocu, Gerard, Gabri, Luis Enrique (Sergio 64), Ronaldinho, Luis Garcia. Subs Not Used: Rustu, Quaresma, Iniesta, Oscar Lopez.
Celtic: Marshall, Kennedy, McNamara (Miller 52), Varga, Agathe, Lennon, Pearson, Petrov, Thompson, Larsson, Sutton (Sylla 83). Subs Not Used: McGovern, Lambert, Mjallby, Beattie, Smith.
Referee: Domenico Messina (Italy).
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