Celtic march on to last 16
Champions League review:A Kris Commons penalty secured a place in the last 16 of the Champions League for Celtic in dramatic fashion against Spartak Moscow in Glasgow this evening, but Chelsea suffered the ignominy of becoming the first defending champions to bow out at the group stages, despite a 6-1 win over Nordsjaelland at Stamford Bridge.
It was a nervous performance from the hosts, who took the lead through Gary Hooper in the 21st minute, but surrendered it when Ari chipped a delightful finish over Fraser Forster four minute before the break.
Celtic needed to better Benfica’s result against Group G winners Barcelona. The Portuguese side could only manage a draw at the Camp Nou, meaning Commons’s thunderous penalty, smashed in off the underside of the crossbar with just eight minute remaining saw them through to the knockout stages with 10 points.
“It's a great night,” said Giorgios Samaras, who won the 82nd minute penalty, afterwards. “Not just for us and the manger, but for the people, the supporters of the club.
“I think over the six games we deserved to go through.”
Asked if the players were aware of goings on in the Catalan capital, he told RTE: “We didn't have clue, we were playing our game, we tried to play the game and we did. We know it is difficult to go to Barca and win, so we tried to win the game and we did.
The Greek insisted the spot-kick was the correct decision. “From the moment the ref gave it, it’s finished. There was contact, so I think it's a penalty, it’s the correct decision.”
Chelsea's demolition of Nordsjaellandwas too little too late, as Juventus's 1-0 away win at Shakhtar Donetskcondemned the London club to third place in Group E.
Rafael Benitez's side at least finished on a high as Fernando Torres scored twice to give the Spanish manager his first taste of victory since replacing Roberto Di Matteo.
Both sides had missed a penalty before David Luiz showed how to do it in from the spot in the 38th minute and Torres made it 2-0 on the stroke of halftime.
Joshua John scored for Nordsjaelland immediately after halftime but Gary Cahill with a header, Torres again and Juan Mata with a close-range effort wrapped up the victory just past the hour.
Oscar ran through to make it 6-1 but the final 25 minutes of Chelsea's Champions League campaign resembled a friendly as news filtered through from Ukraine, where Olexander Kucher's 56th minute own-goal saw Juve take top spot and Shakhtar progress on a better head-to-head record with the Londoners.