Barcelona loses 2-1 at Celtic in Champions League
GLASGOW, Scotland (AP) -Celtic produced a stunning 2-1 victory over Barcelona in the Champions League on Wednesday, rewarded for a disciplined defensive display against the European heavyweight and making the most of their rare attacks.
Victor Wanyama headed the Scottish champions in front in the 21st minute and teenage substitute Tony Watt rounded off another swift counterattack in the 83rd.
Four-time European champion Barca dominated possession but could only score in stoppage time when Lionel Messi found the net after being continuously thwarted by goalkeeper Fraser Forster.
Celtic, which won its only European title in 1967, is now just two points behind Barca with two games left.
Barca's first loss in Group G after three straight wins prevented them from securing early qualification for the knockout phase.
The reverse of the result in the Camp Nou two weeks ago, when Barca came from behind to win 2-1, ended the Catalan side's 12-match unbeaten run.
Barca took just eight minutes to put Forster under pressure with Xavi Hernandez powering in a shot from outside the penalty area.
But Celtic was crowding out the visitors in defense and when the hosts finally found the space to launch a counterattack they delivered.
Just like two weeks ago, Celtic took the lead by exploiting Barca's defensive frailties.
Wanyama rose above Jordi Alba to meet Charlie Mulgrew's corner and he headed past Victor Valdes.
Five minutes later, Celtic came close to stunning Barcelona again.
Another speedy break forward started by Kris Commons led to Adam Matthews delivering the ball into the penalty area where Giorgos Samaras was unable to make a connection before Valdes saved.
Barca couldn't always get the space to find its rhythm, but looked dangerous when they did.
An interchange with Andres Iniesta after beating three defenders saw Messi break clean threw, but his effort was tipped over the crossbar by Forster.
The visitors weren't panicking in the search for an equalizer, with the passing carousel around the penalty area patient before Xavi found the space to launch a shot that couldn't match the quality of the buildup.
Alexis Sanchez was denied by the post before halftime from a header and, as Celtic continued to pack its defense, Forster was Celtic's assuring presence between the posts.
The English goalkeeper kept out a dipping shot from Messi and pulled off a double save to deny Alexis, diving low and then using his feet to block the follow-up.
Forster did even better to deny Messi from point-blank range, palming the ball away with a diving save after the Argentina forward's one-two with Jordi Alba ripped through the Celtic defense.
And there was an easy save to make when Messi sent a tame free kick straight at Forster.
Celtic went straight up the other end to score.
Forster's clearance went high over Xavi and fell straight at the feet of 18-year-old striker Tony Watt, who lashed the ball straight past Valdes.
The closest Celtic had gone to extending its lead until then was Mikael Lustig heading straight at Valdes.
Barca never gave up hope of a second comeback in two weeks, but even Messi's late goal proved to be too late.
Forster was finally beaten only after he denied David Villa and Messi pounced to send the rebound into the roof of the net.
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