Marshall the saviour as Celtic stand firm

Barcelona 0 Celtic 0 Celtic win 1-0 on agg
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The Independent Football

David Marshall, the teenaged stand-in goalkeeper, produced a stunning display in the Nou Camp as Celtic enjoyed one of their greatest European nights even if there were no goals.

David Marshall, the teenaged stand-in goalkeeper, produced a stunning display in the Nou Camp as Celtic enjoyed one of their greatest European nights even if there were no goals.

The Glasgow side clung on to a 1-0 lead from Parkhead to book their place in the quarter-final of the Uefa Cup, and a tie with Villareal, thanks in the main to the heroics of the 19-year-old.

It was an incredible answer to those who doubted that the youngster and Celtic's walking wounded would be up for the challenge. Their manager, Martin O'Neill, took a gamble with Chris Sutton, Alan Thompson, Stanislav Varga and Didier Agathe all declaring themselves fit to play, but that paid off.

In the opening exchanges Marshall produced a brilliant save, which would have done his nerves the world of good. Carles Puyol cut in from the right before finding Ronaldinho. The Brazilian threaded Gerard through on goal and he would have scored but Marshall raced off his line to flick the ball away from his feet.

Then in the ninth minute, Ronaldinho picked out Gerard again but his header from eight yards out was again superbly saved by Marshall, who had to be alert moments later to tip Garcia's dipping long-range effort over the crossbar.

But Marshall bettered even that in the 13th minute when Ronaldinho flicked on Xavi's corner to Luis Enrique at the back post. Marshall pushed away his header with a fantastic reaction save.

Ronaldinho was running the show but when it was not Marshall thwarting him, other Celtic defenders came to the rescue, Stanislav Varga denying him with a desperate block.

Celtic rarely tested Victor Valdes in the Barcelona goal, and Marshall was again called into action in the final minute of the half to save Xavi's dipping and awkward long-range strike. He would not have got near to Michael Reiziger's late strike, after good work from Ronaldinho and Luis Garcia, but fortunately for Celtic it flew past the upright.

Barcelona started to get jittery and Ronaldinho was becoming less effective as the clock ticked down, but they still threatened and Garcia curled a superb left-footed effort just past the post in the 58th minute.

Celtic knew they would have chances the longer the game went on, and Henrik Larsson could have stolen a win on the night in the 62nd minute. But the spotlight was quickly back on Marshall as he saved first from Ronaldinho and then from Gabri. The inspired youngster pulled off another incredible point-blank save in the 70th minute when he tipped Garcia's volley, from Xavi's cross, over the bar.

Marshall was refusing to give up his side's lead and he denied Garcia again when he flung himself to his left to turn the ball around the post.

The full-time whistle finally arrived to put the Celtic fans out of their misery and spark emotional scenes.

Barcelona (4-2-3-1): Valdes; Reiziger (Overmars, 52), Puyol (Marquez, 33), Gabri; Xavi, Cocu; Ronaldinho, Gerard, Luis Garcia; Luis Enrique (capt) (Sergio Garcia, 63). Substitutes not used: Rustu (gk), Oleguer, Quaresma, Iniesta, Oscra Lopez.

Celtic (4-4-2): Marshall; McNamara (capt) (Miller, 50), Varga, Kennedy, Agathe; Thompson, Pearson, Petrov, Lennon; Larsson, Sutton (Sylla, 82). Substitutes not used: McGovern, Lambert, Mjallby, Beattie, Smith.

Referee: D Messina (It).

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