Celtic 1 Benfica 0: McGeady strikes to revive qualification hope

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The Independent Online

Aiden McGeady's brilliance breathed new life into Celtic's hopes of making the knockout stages, the Irishman scoring the only goal of a bruising encounter at Parkhead. Celtic's continually impressive home form is once again giving them hope of progressing; in three weeks they host Shakhtar Donetsk in a game they have to win to have a realistic chance of progressing.

Benfica had Augustin Binya sent-off for a shocking challenge on Scott Brown five minutes from time."It's shocking. He obviously tried to do me as hard as possible," said Brown, who was left in no doubt that Binya attempted to break his leg. He said: "Yes I think he did. The referee dealt with it very well and sent him off right away."

Gordon Strachan, Celtic's manager, was quick to praise McGeady. "He was awesome," said Strachan. "He has made some some subtle changes to his game. He is now using that God-given talent that he has and he is enhancing it, which is great for him and first class for us"

Both teams had chances to take the lead, with Scott McDonald coming close for the home side and Oscar Cardozo proving to be Benfica's biggest threat.

It was Celtic who took the lead on the stroke of half-time through a superb shot from McGeady just outside the box, which took a deflection off Luisao.

Benfica attempted to haul themselves back into the game, but Artur Boruc comfortably smothered Rui Costa's effort shortly after the restart. Benfica's hopes ended when in the 85th minute when Binya was shown a straight red for his challenge on Brown.

Celtic: Boruc, Naylor, Caldwell, Kennedy, McManus, Scott Brown (Sno, 89) Hartley, Jarosik (Donati, 66), McGeady, Vennegoor of Hesselink (Killen, 66), McDonald. Substitutes not used: Mark Brown, Zurawski, Riordan, O'Dea.

Benfica: Quim, Luis Felipe, Edcarlos, Luisao, Leo, Katsouranis, Rui Costa (Bergessio, 77), Pereira (Di Maria, 61), Binya, Rodriguez, Cardozo (Nuno Gomes, 77). Substitutes not used: Butt, Zoro, Nuno Assis, Adu.

Referee: M Hansson (Swe).

Group D

Results: Milan 2 Benfica 1; Shakhtar Donetsk 2 Celtic 0; Benfica 0 Shakhtar Donetsk 1; Celtic 2 Milan 1; Benfica 1 Celtic 0; Milan 4 Shakhtar Donetsk 1; Celtic 1 Benfica 0; Shakhtar Donetsk 0 Milan 3.

Remaining fixtures: 28 November: Benfica v Milan; Celtic v Shakhtar Donetsk. 4 December: Milan v Celtic; Shakhtar Donetsk v Benfica.

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