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DATE: Wednesday 13th September 2006

KICK OFF:
7:45PM

LIVE ON:
Sky Sports 1

Finally, the Champions League has returned, and it's been such a long time too, because we did awful in last seasons Champions League. We only managed one victory, that was against Benfica at Home, with the late late Manchester United show, as Ruud Van Nistelrooy gave us the points. We struggled to beat the other 3 teams through out the group, and when Benfica beat us 2-1 in the last game....it was Game Over in the Champions League for us.

So, on this this seasons Champions League, and we are in Group F, with....Celtic, Benfica, and Copenhagen, not a bad draw, all those team look beatable, but were find that out when we face them. Celtic at home is our first match, and I'm really looking forward to it. Michael Carrick will be able to get a taste of Champions League football, and live the dream. Wayne Rooney and Paul Scholes look like they are going to return, another boost, so all in all, a European Match which will live up to the billing me thinks.

PREDICTION: Manchester United 1-0 Celtic

MATCHDAY ENCOUNTERS (LAST 5 MEETINGS)


PRE SEASON 2001: Manchester United 3-4 Celtic
PRE SEASON 2003: Manchester United 4-0 Celtic
PRE SEASON 2004: Celtic 2-1 Manchester United
ROY KEANE'S TESTIMONIAL [MAY 2006] Manchester United 1-0 Celtic
PRE SEASON 2006: Celtic 0-3 Manchester United


MATCHDAY FACT: Manchester United have never met Celtic in the Champions League. Although they have met Rangers in the 2003/2004 Season, and at the time, Rangers were the Scottish Champions. This time we are facing Celtic, who are the current Scottish Champions.
 

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Match Report: Manchester United 3 - 2 Celtic FC

Louis Saha scored twice to give Manchester United victory in the Champions League clash with Celtic.

Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink put Celtic ahead with a low shot after 21 minutes.

United equalised when Saha scored from the spot after Celtic keeper Artur Boruc fouled Ryan Giggs, then the French striker swept home a second.

Shunsuke Nakamura's free-kick put Celtic level, but Thomas Gravesen's mistake gifted Ole Gunnar Solskjaer United's third seconds after the break.

Saha instantly emerged as a threat to Celtic, with a header from Gary Neville's cross that drifted inches wide and a stunning left-foot volley that was narrowly over the top.

But Celtic broke the shackles to take the lead after 21 minutes - and it was a goal Rio Ferdinand will want to forget.

Boruc's long kick saw Venegoor of Hesselink brush aside a feeble Ferdinand challenge and score with a finish from 18 yards.

United equalised seven minutes later when Boruc was very harshly adjudged to have fouled Giggs as he raced out of goal.

Saha tucked away the spot-kick, but the downside for United saw Giggs limp off with what appeared to be a hamstring strain, to be replaced by Solskjaer.

Venegoor of Hesselink wasted a perfect opportunity to restore Celtic's lead after 36 minutes when he met Nakamura's free-kick but headed tamely at Edwin van der Sar.

United made Celtic pay for their generosity shortly after when they went ahead through Saha.

Gravesen lost possession to Scholes, and he delivered an inviting pass for Saha to steer home.

But Celtic were adopting a bold approach and restored equality three minutes before the break when Nakamura curled a perfect 25-yard free-kick beyond Van der Sar.

Gravesen - who was struggling to make an impact - then wasted all Celtic's good work with another awful error to present United with a third seconds after the re-start.

He carelessly passed straight to Scholes, who once again played in Saha, and when his effort was scrambled clear by Boruc, Solskjaer lashed the loose ball into the roof of the net.

Saha could have had at least a hat-trick, and he was narrowly off target with another header from Darren Fletcher's cross in the 63rd minute.

United were now in the ascendancy and Rooney somehow contrived to miss from six yards after a surging run from Ferdinand, and was then denied by the excellent Boruc after he wrong-footed the Celtic defence.

Gravesen almost made amends for his part in two of United's goals with a trademark run and shot, but Van der Sar was equal to the task.

Boruc was in magnificent form, and he produced his best save of a busy evening from his own defender Paul Telfer with seven minutes left.

He somehow changed direction to claw Telfer's header on to an upright when he inadvertantly directed Darren Fletcher's cross towards his own goal.



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Man Utd: Van der Sar, Neville, Ferdinand, Brown, Silvestre, Fletcher, Scholes (O'Shea 79), Carrick, Giggs (Solskjaer 32), Rooney (Richardson 86), Saha.
Subs Not Used: Kuszczak, Evra, Smith, Vidic.

Booked: Silvestre.

Goals: Saha 30 pen, 40, Solskjaer 47.

Celtic: Boruc, Wilson (Telfer 51), Caldwell, McManus, Naylor, Lennon, Nakamura, Gravesen, Jarosik (Miller 55), McGeady (Maloney 69), Vennegoor of Hesselink.
Subs Not Used: Marshall, Balde, Zurawski, Sno.

Booked: Boruc, Miller.

Goals: Vennegoor of Hesselink 21, Nakamura 43.

Att: 74,031

Ref: Lubos Michel (Slovakia).
 
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