Celtic humbled by slick Porto

Porto 3 Celtic 0
Click to follow
The Independent Football

Celtic's hopes of making progress in the Champions' League suffered a severe setback here last night when they went down to a heavy defeat in Portugal. Martin O'Neill's side slipped from first to third place in Group E, behind both Porto and Juventus.

O'Neill had recalled Didier Agathe and Alan Thompson for Lubomir Moravcik and Mohammed Sylla, while John Hartson continued in the absence of Chris Sutton.

Celtic were understandably in a positive mood after going seven points clear at the top of the Scottish Premier League. But Octavio Machado's Porto side were also riding high after their 3-0 victory over Salgueiros at the weekend.

Celtic did not have time to settle before they suffered a disastrous start. In the first minute the home captain, Capucho, swung in an inviting cross from the right wing which went over Bobo Balde and the Brazilian striker Clayton emphatically headed past Robert Douglas from 10 yards.

Celtic should have gone further behind in the ninth minute in an almost identical move. Capucho was causing the Scots all kinds of problems and again he picked out Clayton in the box with Johan Mjallby well beaten, but the Brazilian this time headed just wide of the upright.

Porto again went close in the 18th minute when Clayton found Capucho down the right and his ball was taken in his stride by Deco, whose right-foot shot came back off an upright.

Celtic's defence looked liked being ripped apart every time Porto came forward and Deco headed Capucho's cross just over the crossbar. Then, in first-half injury time, Balde headed Capucho's corner out and Mario Silva hit an unstoppable right-foot effort past Douglas from 25 yards.

Celtic pressed forward on occasion after the break but the Glasgow side's hopes of staging a comeback were hit in the 60th minute when Clayton exchanged passes with Deco before blasting in a shot which Douglas deflected onto the bar on its way into the goal.

The Celtic players were shell-shocked, but Moravcik curled a left-foot effort just past the post before Douglas saved Mario Silva's dipping right-foot shot.

Porto: Ovchinnikov; Ibarra, Mario Silva, Jorge Andrade, Ricardo Carvalho, Costinha (Soderstrom, 81), Paredes, Deco, Clayton (Rubens Junior, 75), Capucho (Paulo Costa, 85), Jesus Pena. Substitutes not used: Santos (gk), Alenichev, Ricardo Silva, Helder.

Celtic: Douglas; Mjallby, Balde, Valgaeren, Agathe, Lambert, Lennon, Petrov (Sylla, 66), Thompson (Moravcik, 55), Larsson, Hartson (Maloney, 87). Substitutes not used: Kharin (gk), McNamara, Tébily, Healy.

Referee: R Temmink (Netherlands).