by Darren Walsh
This is one of the few nights that the RTE crew won’t say anything too negative; Barcelona are too good while Celtic are the plucky underdog and practically Irish anyway.
Incredible atmosphere in the stadium; a few Barcelona players look a bit spooked.
Shot of Tito Vilanova on the bench; the camera is shaking due to the noise, like the whole stadium is rocking on its foundations.
Free kick for Celtic, chances like that will obviously be their best chance. They play it short instead and try to find a better angle, but doesn’t quite work.
Pretty much the game that was expected, Barcelona with all of the ball, Celtic trying to counter.
Celtic get another set-piece chance, and they make this one count. The corner goes towards the back post and Victor Wanyama towers above Jordi Alba to head in. Ok, Alba is 5’7, but it’s still a towering header.
Neil Lennon goes mad celebrating; now if he just had proper fitting tracksuit bottoms he’d be golden.
Lennon said Wanyama is worth about 25 million pounds after the first Barca game; must be worth about 50 now.
Only problem is that the goal was scored in the 21st minute; long time to hold out.
Mulgrew curls in a low cross with the outside of his foot, but just too far ahead of Samaras. A second goal and my TV speakers might just explode with the noise.
Messi hits the top of the bar, turned out to be fingertips save by Forster.
Ray Houghton wants Barcelona to cross the ball across goal instead of cutting back or crossing to the edge of the penalty area. If he looked at the six yard area he’d realise that there’s no one there to cross to. It’s not like they play with a traditional striker, is it?
And just as I say that, Alba rolls one across the area with no one there.
Sanchez does a decent impression of a number nine (a targetman I mean, I know Sanchez wears number nine) with a header back across goal, hits the outside of the post though.
Forster nicks the ball away from Messi’s foot as he’s about to tap in. Celtic will have the lead at half time.
Big roar from the home fans as the whistle blows. They’ll never keep out Barcelona in the second half of course, but so far….good job.
Quite a few ads annoying me at the moment. Aero’s one comes on, championing the fact that there’s more bubbles in each bar now. Surely more bubbles mean less to eat? I’M ONTO YOU, AERO.
For people who don’t know, RTE have someone apart from the presenter and the analysts who, at full time and at the end of the discussion, presents the goals of the other games from tonight and last night. Tonight it’s Darragh Moloney who will be taking it on, and I really hope that he is better than the regular presenter Tony O’Donaghue, who struggles with the interactive map of Europe and can’t find the relevant cities where the games are being played.
Fraser Forster is 6’7? Wow, all 10 outfield Barcelona players could stand on each other’s shoulders and they still wouldn’t match up to him.
The Celtic fans celebrate getting a corner like it’s a goal; might be as good as if the delivery is right. However they play it short and cross from deeper, and while they get a header on goal, it’s a simple catch for Valdes.
Messi is getting frustrated, appealing for quite a few decisions to go his way now.
And just after that, he plays a brilliant through ball for Sanchez. Forster makes the save, and then another one from the rebound.
All subs used for Barca; Villa, Fabregas and Pique on.
Another save from Forster, this time from Messi who tries to find the corner of the net. It’s a good strong hand though to keep him out.
Of the few times that Barcelona have shot from long range, they have all been appalling. Another one sees Iniesta getting it all wrong and shooting way over the bar.
After all the Barcelona attacking, they switch off on a long goal kick. The ball runs through to Tom Watt and the 18 year old finishes coolly past Valdes. Incredibly, Celtic might have sealed a win against the greatest team of our age.
And then Watt gets through again from a goal kick, tangles with Mascherano but no foul is given. It happened before they reached the penalty area, but would have been a straight red card.
Villa volleys first time from a cross, but it hits Pique and goes out of play. Sums up their night.
Four minutes injury time, greeted by howls of anguish from the home crowd. Half a minute into it, Forster saves again but it falls to Messi who fires into the roof of the net. If they can turn this around it will be even more heart-breaking for Celtic than the result in the Nou Camp.
Finally, the final whistle sounds. Neil Lennon is ecstatic, while the players look too knackered to even take in what they’ve accomplished. As for Barcelona, they’ll probably still finish top of the group. The difference is now that Celtic have a real chance of joining them in the knock-out stages.