A dramatic last-minute strike by Scott McDonald gave Celtic their first win over AC Milan in the Champions League on a fiery night in Glasgow. Home captain Stephen McManus gave the home side the lead in the 62nd minute but six minutes later referee Markus Merk thought Lee Naylor grappled too enthusiastically with Milan skipper Massimo Ambrosini inside the penalty area and Kaka stroked home the spot-kick. But with seconds left, McDonald pounced when Milan keeper Dida had parried a Gary Caldwell drive from the edge of the box and the three points were secure. But the drama was not over. A delighted Celtic fan rushed on and made contact with Dida - who collapsed to the ground and, after attention, was replaced by Zeljko Kalac as the game finished in controversial circumstances. When the pandemonium died down at rain-soaked Parkhead, the Scottish champions were left with three valuable points and their first victory over the Rossoneri in seven attempts - although they will be hoping to avoid any punishment from UEFA over the late incident involving Dida.
AC Milan's Kaka takes on Jiri Jarosik
After a 2-0 loss against Shakhtar Donetsk in their opening Group D game a fortnight ago, Celtic were under pressure to get off the mark against the holders and the early signs were promising. Scott Brown, normally a midfielder, started in attack with McDonald, while Jiri Jarosik was drafted in for his first game of the season. The home side were positive from the outset and it was former Milan midfielder Massimo Donati who had the first effort in the eighth minute, his low drive from distance saved by Dida at his near post. The Rossoneri could not get to grips with a game punctuated by niggly fouls and there was no threat to Artur Boruc in the Parkhead goal until the 19th minute when Kaka forced the Poland international to make the first save of the game with a 25-yard drive. The encounter became increasingly tetchy, referee Markus Merk adding to the sense of frustration inside Celtic Park with some over-zealous decisions especially regarding tackles. Despite Celtic's energy and enthusiasm there was clearly no easy way through the well-drilled Milan defence and Clarence Seedorf's run and drive after 27 minutes, which went wide, suggesting the visitors were warming to the task. Brown picked up a booking for a foul on Gennaro Gattuso as the game went flat towards the end of the first half.
Within three minutes of the second period beginning, Filippo Inzaghi had fired a Massimo Oddo cross over the bar from 12 yards out. Celtic responded with verve but still the Serie A side looked neat and tidy in defence if in no rush to get the breakthrough for themselves. Jarosik had a long-distance drive speed yards wide after the tenacious Brown had robbed the lethargic-looking Andrea Pirlo, typical of the mundane fare being served up. What was untypical was the slackness which had permeated the Milan side although Celtic left-back Naylor had to be sharp inside his own penalty area in the 59th minute to take the ball away from Inzaghi's toe. But in the 62nd minute Celtic Park cheered long and loud when the home side took the lead through captain McManus. Paul Hartley's corner from the left appeared to take a touch off Donati before landing at the big stopper at the back post - and he bundled it over the line from literally inches out. Moments later, Pirlo's free-kick from 25 yards almost caught out Boruc, the Celtic keeper looking uncomfortable as he scooped the ball over the bar. In the 68th minute Milan levelled from the spot when, to most people's surprise, including the visiting players, referee Merk adjudged Naylor to have grabbed Ambrosini inside the box as the visitors pressed with renewed vigour. As the jeers and boos rung round Celtic Park, Kaka sent Boruc the wrong way and instantly the Italians were in control. But in the 89th minute McDonald gave the home side a famous victory when, following Dida's save from Caldwell's drive, the former Motherwell player slotted home the rebound. Dida's dramatic collapse took up most of the remaining seconds but soon after his substitution Merk signalled the end of the game - and an historic win for Celtic.
Come and have a go if you think you are hard enough
Celtic: Boruc, Perrier Doumbe (Kennedy 79), Caldwell, McManus, Naylor, McGeady (Nakamura 85), Hartley, Donati, Jarosik (Killen 84), Scott Brown, McDonald
Subs Not Used: Mark Brown, Riordan, Sno, O'Dea
Booked: Scott Brown, Donati, McDonald
Goals: McManus 62, McDonald 90
AC Milan: Dida (Kalac 90), Oddo, Nesta, Bonera, Jankulovski, Ambrosini, Gattuso, Pirlo, Seedorf (Gourcuff 55), Kaka, Inzaghi (Gilardino 76).
Subs Not Used: Emerson, Simic, Favalli, Brocchi
Booked: Ambrosini, Nesta
Goal: Kaka 68 pen
Ref: Markus Merk (Germany)
Ger Harley (ger@scottishfitba net)
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