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More Champs League Agony for Man Utd

Scottish champ Celtic clinched passage into the second round of the UEFA Champions League by scoring a 1-0 victory over Manchester United yesterday at Parkhead. Shunsuke Nakamura once again beat Edwin van der Sar from a free kick, this time from some 25 yards away from goal; his perfect curling free kick left the Dutch keeper absolutely helpless. With 10 minutes remaining, United was sent scrambling for an equalizer, and it was Luis Saha who twice wasted golden opportunities. The first incident was a one-on-one with Artur Boruc; Saha was casual in his attempt to lob the Celtic keeper because he thought he was in an offside position. The second was a penalty kick brilliantly saved by Borduc two minutes from time. Celtic captain Neil Lennon later revealed that Gary Neville, the Red Devils captain, predicted that Saha would miss, because his "head was gone" due to the earlier mistake. United boss Sir Alex Ferguson was furious with the performance, which now leaves the Red Devils' hopes of qualification in doubt after the club's second straight Champions League loss. "We're disappointed," Ferguson said. "We threw it away, no question. We had some good opportunities but our finishing was disappointing. To qualify we need to get a point against Benfica." In fact, it's the same situation the Red Devils were faced with last year: needing just a point at home to qualify against Benfica, United lost, crashing out of the Champions League. Celtic manager Gordon Strachan, whose team automatically qualify for the next round based on its head-to-head record with United, was obviously elated. "I did not know until 15 minutes after the end that we'd qualified. I didn't believe it. I still don't. But I'll get up early and if I see it on Teletext I'll believe it," he said.

Read the whole story at The Independent »

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