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Celtic wins at Spartak Moscow in Champions League

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Associated Press
10/2/2012 3:13:53 PM
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MOSCOW -- Georgios Samaras scored in the 90th minute to give Celtic a 3-2 win at 10-man Spartak Moscow in the group stage of the Champions League on Tuesday.

The Greece striker leapt above a defender to head a cross from into the net from left back Emilio Izaguirre, giving the Scottish club four points in Group G after two matches.

It is the second straight loss for Spartak in a group that also contains Benfica and Barcelona.

Celtic manager Neil Lennon hailed his players for their spirit in coming back to win after trailing 2-1 shortly after halftime.

"I can't speak highly enough of the players. They were magnificent and they played magnificent football at a very tough venue against an excellent side," Lennon said.

The visitors sat inside their own half for much of the first half, content to launch incisive counterattacks.

Against the flow of play, Celtic right back Mikael Lustig set up lone striker Gary Hooper, who slipped between two Spartak defenders to deftly put the ball into the back of the net from the edge of the five-yard box in the 12th minute.

The goal re-energized the Scottish side, but a goal either side of halftime from Nigerian forward Emmanuel Emenike put Spartak 2-1 ahead.

The home side's breakthrough came courtesy of a long-distance pass by midfielder Kim Kallstrom in the 41st from halfway to Brazilian striker Ari, who passed the ball sideways to give Emmanuel Emenike a simple tap-in.

Emeninke doubled his tally three minutes into the second half, Ari again providing him with the ball from Celtic goalkeeper Fraser Forster's fumbled parry of a powerful shot from outside the box by Demy de Zeeuw.

As the Russian side looked like it might find its stride, defender Juan Manuel Insaurralde was shown a red card in the 64th minute for being the last man in defence when he brought Hooper down on one of his many surging, counterattacking moves.

Hooper found winger James Forrest in a crowded Spartak box for a shot that was knocked back by 'keeper Sergei Pesyakov in the 71st minute, only for the ball to be deflected back into the net for an own-goal by Dmitry Kombarov.

"Nothing is lost, we will fight on," Spartak Moscow owner Leonid Fedun said. "You could see that it was all normal until the sending off. And the second goal against us was so stupid."

Samaras scores (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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