London: Barcelona wasted their first chance to reach the Champions League last 16 after a surprise defeat by Celtic but Manchester United edged through and six-goal Bayern Munich rocketed closer to progression on Wednesday.
Favourites Barca lost 1-2 in Glasgow after Victor Wanyama and Tony Watt struck in a famous win for the modest Scottish champions, who exposed the continued defensive frailties of the slick passing Catalans with non-stop energy and physicality.
Lionel Messi pulled one back late on but the point that would have put the Group G leaders through was not forthcoming even if they still lead Celtic by two points and Benfica, 2-0 winners over Spartak Moscow, by five with two to play.
“It’s right up there, one of the proudest moments of my career. This is monumental,” Celtic manager Neil Lennon said. His side had also led at the Nou Camp before a late 1-2 loss last month.
United came from behind to win 3-1 at Braga after a Robin van Persie strike, Wayne Rooney’s penalty and Javier Hernandez’s scrappy goal in the final 10 minutes sealed a knockout stage berth as group winners following a painful early exit last term.
A powercut after Alan’s opening penalty for the Portuguese hosts had held up the Group H game for around 10 minutes in the second half but United roared back.
Galatasaray’s 3-1 win in Cluj left second spot wide open.
Shakhtar Donetsk could have gone through with a win in Group E but lost 2-3 at stuttering holders Chelsea, who netted in injury time through Victor Moses’ header from a corner to spark wild scenes at Stamford Bridge.
“We deserved to win the game today, particularly in the second half where we dominated. I only played 10 minutes but it was good to get the winning goal,” forward Moses said.
Brazilian Willian had equalised twice with neat finishes after well-worked moves from the 2009 Uefa Cup winners.
They had shot themselves in the foot early on when goalkeeper Andriy Pyatov’s clearance cannoned into the goal off Fernando Torres and the ’keeper’s clearing header was wonderfully sent into the net from distance by Oscar to make it 2-1.
Oscar was delighted with the team’s performance and paid tribute to Shakhtar’s players. The Brazilian told reporters: “It was as difficult as we were expecting. We knew they were coming with an open game plan, and to try and put some pressure on us.”
The highlight of the match was certainly Oscar’s sublime 45-yard volley in the first half and the youngster was understandably delighted with the effort: “Yes, I think it was a beautiful goal. They let themselves down at the back, but then we haven’t done ourselves any favours in defence either.” (Reuters)