Celtic's travel sickness persists as Inzaghi steals in

Milan 3 Celtic 1
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Celtic's dismal Champions' League away record continued with a 3-1 defeat last night, but not without giving Milan a scare at the San Siro.

Celtic's dismal Champions' League away record continued with a 3-1 defeat last night, but not without giving Milan a scare at the San Siro.

Although an eighth-minute strike from Andriy Shevchenko had seemed like the precursor to a heavy defeat, Celtic remained dogged in the first-half and enterprising in a second-half that saw them deservedly snatch an equaliser through Stanislav Varga.

But two late goals from Filippo Inzaghi and Andrea Pirlo meant it was business as usual for the Scottish champions. Before last night Celtic had lost all their previous six group matches on their travels in the Champions' League, and had already lost their opening game against Barcelona this campaign.

The problems early on came from Celtic's inability to cope with the threat of Shevchenko, who capped a torrid opening spell with a wonderful strike past David Marshall.

It took until the 48th minute for Celtic to test Dida ­ Henri Camara sending a low right-foot shot from John Hartson's knock-down towards goal, forcing the Brazilian into an uncomfortable save.

O'Neill was forced to replace Alan Thompson with Juninho after the Englishman suffered a hamstring injury, but the change failed to dampen Celtic's attacking fervour. Camara came close soon after but Dida saved at his feet. Celtic were justly rewarded with an equaliser in the 74th minute when Varga steered a Stilian Petrov corner past Dida with a thundering header.

A draw would have been fair reward for Celtic's endeavour but it was not to be. With a minute of normal time remaining substitute Inzaghi struck from close range, poking home a low cross from Shevchenko.

Milan made certain of victory with a free-kick in injury time from Pirlo, which took a wicked deflection off Neil Lennon to wrong-foot a distraught Marshall.

O'Neill said after the match that he was more upset about losing the first two matches of this season's Champions' League campaign than he was after defeat in the Uefa Cup final to Porto two seasons ago.

"I feel terrible," he said. "I thought losing [to Porto] was a really big disappointment. We have been beaten [here] in a game we dominated. We're not out of this competition by a long way. We have to go and win in the Ukraine ­ and that won't be easy ­ but we are not out yet."

Milan (4-4-2) : Dida, Cafu, Nesta, Maldini, Pancaro, Gattuso (Rui Costa, 86), Pirlo, Seedorf (Ambrosini, 77), Kaka, Shevchenko, Tomasson (Inzaghi, 77). Substitutes not used: Fiori, Kaladze, Costacurta, Crespo.

Celtic (4-4-2) : Marshall, Agathe, Varga, Balde, Valgaeren, Petrov, Lennon, Sutton, Thompson (Juninho, 59), Hartson (Sylla, 86), Camara. Substitutes not used: Douglas, Paulista, Lambert, Laursen, Wallace, McGeady.

Referee: Gilles Veissiere (France).

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