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NEIL LENNON PICKED out the corner flag he wants to have a pile-on celebration at in the San Siro. All his side had to do is shock the seven-time European champions.

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AC Milan 2-0 Celtic

Welcome along to you, one and all. Eight games on the boil in the Champions League tonight. We will keep you posted on Chelsea and Arsenal’s goings on, and Barca versus Ajax, but focus on Celtic’s mission trickily implausible against AC Milan.

Here are your teams:

AC Milan: Abbiati, Zaccardo, Zapata, Mexes, Constant, Muntari, De Jong, Nocerino, Matri, Birsa, Balotelli.

Subs: Amelia, Robinho, Poli, Cristante, Emanuelson, Benedicic, Iotti.

Glasgow Celtic: Forster, van Dijk, Lustig, Ambrose, Izaguirre, Brown, Matthews, Mulgrew, Commons, Samaras, Stokes.

Subs: Zaluska, Biton, Boerrigter, Balde, Rogic, Pukki, McGeouch.

Anthony Stokes starts for Celtic. Are you watching Nameless Irish Manager? Look out for McGeouch [sounds like a Scottish Smurf] on the bench.

Over at Montrose, Billo asks the lads, Eamon, Liam and Gilesey, to discuss the ‘unfulfilled potential’ of Anthony Stokes. One would swear that he was a decade older than 25, the way the boys are going on.

Giles says that, if he plays to his potential, Stokes could be ‘a great asset to the Irish team’.

How do you think Celtic will fare tonight?

Here’s what the RTE trio think — Giles: draw, Brady: draw, Dunphy: too hard to call.

What age is Abbiati? He has been around for ages. Quick check tells me he is 38 years young.

KICK-OFF

For Chelsea and Arsenal fans out there, here is how your chaps are lining out:

Chelsea: Cech, Ivanovic, Cahill, Luiz, Cole, Oscar, van Ginkel , Lampard, Willian, Eto’o, Hazard.

Arsenal: Szczesny, Sagna, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Gibbs, Flamini, Ramsey, Walcott, Wilshere, Ozil, Giroud.

Mexes the first to try his luck but his long-ranger is up with the fans. Stokes linking up with Samaras well in the first few minutes.

Balotelli stings Forster’s palms with a volley from the edge of the box. The rebound, from Forster’s parry, is wide.

Nocerino with a low drive that Forster gets comfortably behind. Six minutes gone and Charlie Mulgrew gets the first foul-related scolding from Wolfgang Stark.

Birsa is in behind the Celtic defence but Forster smothers the threat and concedes a corner. Celtic deal with it well and clear but the ball is not sticking in the Celtic midfield.

Corner to Celtic after a good run from Commons. It is swung in but headed clear. No goals elsewhere, at the 10 minute mark.

Mario Balotelli has been dumped on his rear end. Some extravagance in his reaction to that back nudge but no further action is taken.

Chaos here as Abbiati is adjudged of picking up a backpass and gives away an indirect free kick 10 yards out.

That came off Scott Brown.The free is charged down. Mulgrew’s shot. Two corners have come as a result though and then a free in from a dangerous position. Good spell of Celtic pressure. Here’s a snap of that indirect free-kick:

Play comes up the other end and Matri goes close with a header. Milan earn a corner but it is headed clear. 21 minutes on the clock.

Another Celtic corner is headed clear and AC thunder forward through Balotelli. Matthews snuffs out the threat and we are then left with Nocerino hurtling  over the hoarding boards and complaining about it to the ref.

Lionel Messi scores Champions League goal number 60 to put Barcelona 1-0 up against Ajax.

Samaras lucky not to get a yellow card for a sliding tackle that he mis-times by about five seconds. Nocerino with a ‘Jimmy Quinn’ style volley from 25 yards out but it dips too late and goes a foot over the bar with Forster arching backwards.

Zaccardo concedes a corner, under pressure from Commons. Stokes’ outswinger is headed clear and another cross is gobbled up by Abbiati. His boot upfield finds no-one so Celtic start again. Dreadful stuff at times from AC Milan.

Stokes almost with a great goal. Almost but two yards wide via a deflection off the defender. He should have squared it for Samaras but beat two men and got greedy. The corner is wasted as the Greek target-man pushes his marker in the box.

GREAT SAVE! Balotelli’s shot takes a big deflection and Forster has to go full-stretch to tip it around the post.

Chelsea, meanwhile have scored on half-time at Stamford Bridge. Oscar puts them 1-0 up on Basel.

HALF-TIME

Neil Lennon will be happy with that and, with seven corners in the first half and a few good goalscoring chances, be telling his men they can get three points here.

DEBATE: What is the best European football ground you have ever been to? Mine has to be the San Siro. I was there twice and came away thoroughly impressed on both occasions.

Arsenal are 0-0 at half-time with Marseille. Late goals in the first half for Napoli, against Dortmund, and Atletico Madrid, against Zenit.

Dunphy: ‘I think Celtic can win this game because AC Milan are [pregnant pause] awful’.

Dortmund Teutonic goalkeeping wonder Roman Weidenfeller has been sent off for handling outside his box. Last year’s beaten finalists down to 10 men.

Well taken goal from Oscar, the wee Brazilian wonder. Jose Mourinho was taking some gentle stick off some Chelsea fans for not picking Juan Mata but this should soothe them.

YouTube credit: DavidKizzo

KICK-OFF

Good start from Celtic and they earn another corner. Will they make one count?

Lustig gets a flick on but that is the extent of it. Celtic retain possession but Lustig eventually overhits a cross.Real sense that the Italians are there for the taking.

Samaras fizzes an effort from 25 yards out and it goes just wide of Abbiati’s righthand post. 51 minutes gone.

The AC Milan supporters are getting restless up in the stands. Celtic are starting to pass the ball with impunity and Scott Brown’s influence is growing.

Barca are 2-0 up and Messi has done the damage again. Lethal, that chap.

Commons’ shot comes off Mexes and earns the Scots another corner. Mulgrew delivers as Samaras tumbles in the box but without complaint. Stokes gets a cross in and five seconds of woeful football sees Samaras head into the turf and Mulgrew get no momentum, or class into his bicycle kick attempt.

Muntari with a glaring, glaring miss at the back post. All he has to do is head back across Forster but he tries to roof his diving header and rockets it two yards over the bar.

Corner number nine for Celtic and it is another powder-puff outswinger. Headed clear. Great, slalom run by Matthews in the lead-up to that setpiece. Samaras’ shot was blocked to earn another wasted corner. 65 minutes on the clock.

Ambrose fouls Muntari and gets a deserved yellow card. Balotelli lines it up…

Commons blocks the free and Celtic pile forward. De Jong with a hefty tackle but the yellow shirts stream forward. Great through-ball for Brown but just as he pulls the trigger, he is tackled… by De Jong! Abbiati gets his body behind it.

Here is the Celtic bench. Look away now Hoops fans if you are of a weak disposition: Zaluska, Biton, Boerrigter, Balde, Rogic, Pukki, McGeouch.

Theo Walcott gives Arsenal a 1 — 0 lead against Marseille. Apparently it was a cracker. I’ll keep an eye out for it.

Mohamed Salah has scored for FC Basel against Chelsea. 1-1 at d’Bridge.

Derk Boerrigter is on for Matthews and Celtic sensing red [and black] blood in the water.

Another Celtic sub. Teemu Pukki is on for Commons, who the Italian stadium announcer calls Krishy Commons. 13 minutes left to play.

Pukki earns Celtic a free-kick 28 yards out from goal and centrally placed. Mulgrew says he’ll take it. But Stokes steps up and… Off the crossbar!

GOAL: AC Milan 1-0 Celtic (Zapata ’82)

Cristian Zapata opens the scoring. The Colmbian’s effort from 30 yards out was going well wide but Izaguirre stuck his leg out and deflected it past Forster.

More goals to tell you about. Aaron Ramsey uts Arsenal 2-0 up and, at the Nou Camp, it is Messi 3-0 Ajax.

GOAL: AC Milan 2-0 Celtic (Muntari ’84)

Brown gives up a free-kick. Balotelli rips in an effort. Forster claws it out but falls into the net and Muntari pokes in the rebound.

I did Gerard Pique a disservice. He scored Barca’s third goal. Messi’s hat-trick made it 4-0. That first goal for AC is officially credited to Emilio Izaguirre now. Biton is on for Celtic. Skinny chap.

Holy heck, Basel are 2-1 up on Chelsea and Marco Streller is the hero. Long time unbeaten record for Mourinho at the Bridge is under threat. His eggs are cracking.

FULL-TIME

Tough cheese to Celtic as they enjoyed long spells of dominance but come away with 0 points and heavy hearts.

ROUND-UP: Chelsea 1-2 Basel, Marseille 1-2 Arsenal, Atletico Madrid 3-1 Zenit, Austria Vienna 0-1 Porto, Barcelona 4-0 Ajax, Napoli 2-1 Dortmund, Schalke 3-0 Steaua.

What did you make of all that? Ramsey rocking for Arsenal. Mourinho’s slow start continues. Celtic blow a golden opportunity in Milan…

About the author:

Patrick McCarry

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