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Moses steals win for Blues as Celtic stun Barca

ESPN staff
November 7, 2012 « Adkins gets Saints board backing | Chartbeat test »
Victor Moses scored a late, late winner for Chelsea © Getty Images
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Chelsea made their path to Champions League progression a lot easier with a last-gasp 3-2 victory at home to Shakhtar Donetsk on Wednesday, as Manchester United sealed qualification for the knock-out stages with a come-from-behind 3-1 victory against Braga and Celtic pulled off an historic upset to defeat Barcelona 2-1.

Champions League results and tables

Defending champions Chelsea faced the prospect of two nervy final group stage matches as their match against Shakhtar entered injury time locked at 2-2, but substitute Victor Moses found space inside the box to rise highest and nod home a potentially crucial winner.

Prior to that decisive moment the two sides could not be separated in what was an attractive and open European encounter. Fernando Torres - presented with his Euro 2012 golden boot award before the game - grabbed the lead after barely five minutes, charging down Andriy Pyatov's clearance from barely six yards to get Roberto Di Matteo's side off to an ideal start.

Rumoured Blues transfer target Willian then equalised almost immediately after a sweeping team move, before another Pyatov error - this time a flimsy header from just outside the box - set up Oscar to chest the ball down and volley into the unguarded net from all of 40 yards with five minutes to go until half-time.

That stunning strike was the difference between the two sides at the break, but almost immediately after the restart the Ukrainian side were back on level terms - Willian driving home again, after yet another impressive passing move.

Over the next 35 minutes the away side had a number of further chances to score, while Chelsea were frustrated after their best opportunities all seemed to fall to the out-of-luck John Obi Mikel. That set the stage for a tense final few minutes - and ultimately left the way clear for Moses to make the decisive impact, barely ten minutes after being brought on.

That elevated the Blues to second in their group on seven points - behind the night's opponents only on head-to-head - and a single point ahead of Juventus, after the Italian champions demolished FC Nordsjaelland 4-0 in Group E's other match.

First-half strikes from Claudio Marchisio, Arturo Vidal and Sebastian Giovinco, plus a second-half header from Fabio Quagliarella were enough to see off the Norwegian champions as the Italians finally tasted victory after three successive draws.

Victor Wanyama set Celtic on the way to an incredible victory © Getty Images
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Elsewhere, Parkhead witnessed one of its greatest nights as goals from Victor Wanyama and teenage substitute Tony Watt gave Celtic a momentous Champions League victory over Barcelona.

It was a Group G clash that the Hoops were not supposed to win but the east end of Glasgow exploded in the 21st minute when midfielder Wanyama headed in from a Charlie Mulgrew corner.

It was backs-to-the-wall stuff for most of the game for the home side as the star-studded visitors hit the woodwork twice and goalkeeper Fraser Forster pulled off a number of vital saves.

But in the 83rd minute 18-year-old Watt, on for Mikael Lustig to make his debut in the competition, raced away to score the second, leaving Lionel Messi's late strike a consolation.

Celtic, with seven points from four games, two less than leaders Barca, travel to Benfica before hosting Spartak Moscow in their final group fixture and will surely fancy their chances of reaching the knockout stages of the competition.

Neither side will give in easily, however, especially after the Portuguese side's 2-0 victory - thanks to twin strikes from Oscar Cardozo - left both clubs with slim hopes of progression.

In Portugal, late goals from Robin van Persie, Wayne Rooney and Javier Hernandez saw Manchester United come from behind to secure victory in Braga and with it their place in the last 16 of the Champions League.

A United side showing six changes from Saturday's Premier League win over Arsenal struggled to get going in the first half and the hosts went in front shortly after the interval through a penalty from Alan Silva.

However, as they have done so often this term after conceding the first goal, the Red Devils fought back to win thanks to substitute Van Persie's 80th-minute effort from outside the box, a Rooney spot-kick five minutes later and Hernandez's stoppage-time strike.

It leaves Group H leaders United on 12 points and guaranteed to go through as group winners, with Galatasaray and CFR Cluj on four points each and Braga on three after four rounds of matches.

That is after the Turkish side claimed an identical 3-1 victory in Romania, with a Burak Yilmaz hat-trick rendering Modou Sougou's second half equaliser irrelevant.

Javier Hernandez sealed the deal for Manchester United © Getty Images
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Finally, Valencia completed a double over BATE Borisov to stay level on points at the top of Group F.

Goals from Jonas Oliveira and Roberto Soldado in four first-half minutes, the latter from the penalty spot, put the Spanish side on top at the Mestalla.

And Sofiane Feghouli's second-half brace sealed victory as BATE threatened a comeback through star man Renan Bressan and Dmitri Mozolevski.

They are level with Bayern Munich but behind on head-to-head, as the German side hammered pointless Lille.

Claudio Pizarro completed his hat-trick in the 33rd minute, by which point Bayern led 5-0 with Bastian Schweinsteiger and Arjen Robben both striking from free-kicks.

Salomon Kalou pulled one back from long range but substitute Toni Kroos was quick to add his name to the list of scorers, as Bayern moved to nine points ahead of their second meeting with their fellow pacesetters.

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