Dortmund’s Polish striker Robert Lewandowski celebates after scoring during the Champions League Group F match against Olympique Marseille in Dortmund, western Germany, yesterday.
Glasgow: Barcelona, missing the mercurial talent of the injured Lionel Messi, laboured to a 1-0 win in their Group H Champions League game against 10-man Celtic in Glasgow yesterday.
The only goal came after 76 minutes when Neymar swept the ball out to substitute Alexis Sanchez on the right and his back-post cross was headed home by the unmarked Cesc Fabregas.
By then Celtic were down to 10 men having had Scott Brown dismissed just before the hour mark for catching Neymar in the back with his boot after the Brazilian went down in a challenge.
In an absorbing contest of artistry against industry at an electric Parkhead Stadium, Barcelona, as expected, dominated possession but created little in a match of few chances.
Celtic’s best chances came after the sending off and before Barca scored when James Forrest forced a superb diving save out of Victor Valdes and Charlie Mulgrew headed wide of an open goal from the resulting corner.
Near the end Celtic keeper Fraser Forster produced three fine saves of his own to keep Barcelona at bay, the first a double effort as Neymar then Alexis Sanchez were thwarted.
The win gives Barcelona a maximum six points from two games and leaves Celtic still looking for their first point.
In Amsterdam, Mario Balotelli scored a penalty in the fourth minute of added time to earn AC Milan a 1-1 draw with Ajax at the Amsterdam Arena in Group H.
Balotelli won the penalty in controversial circumstances after grappling with substitute centre-back Mike Van der Hoorn inside the area and his conversion from 12 yards earned the Rossoneri a draw that their second-half display deserved.
The finish was cruel on Ajax, however, as they had only taken the lead in the 90th minute of a game that had previously appeared destined to end goalless.
Then, young central defender Stefano Denswil rose unmarked five yards out to head home a corner from the right flank to leave the Dutch champions on the brink of a precious win. Instead, the draw suits Milan, who are clear in second place on four points behind Barcelona.
In London, Mesut Ozil bewitched Napoli to conjure up a 2-0 win for Arsenal to end the Italian side’s unbeaten start to the season. The Germany midfielder scored the opening goal, his first for Arsenal, with a superb left-foot effort from the edge of the penalty area after eight minutes and set up Olivier Giroud for Arsenal’s second after 15.
Any lingering doubts that the former Real Madrid player was worth the £43m that Arsene Wenger paid for him in August were swept away in a magical first-half display of precision passing, great movement and feints, and Aaron Ramsey played his full part as the sorcerer’s apprentice.
Arsenal’s second win after their 2-1 success in Marseille put them on six points in Group F alongside Borussia Dortmund, who beat Marseille 3-0 yesterday. Agencies