On a night of high drama and passion, Manchester United won the latest in a long line of Battle of Britain's when they finally found their goal touch against Celtic in the Champions League. The three goals they scored in their opening Group F clash against Celtic at Old Trafford equalled their total tally for the six group games in last season's competition. But, while United were irresistable in attack, their defending left much to be desired with England's Rio Ferdinand decidely shaky in the first half and his international team-mate Wes Brown just as dodgy in the second.
Celtic tore at United like men possessed, but Sir Alex Ferguson's side had that bit more class with Louis Saha magnificent in attack and Paul Scholes driving them on tirelessley in midfield. Saha was twice close to scoring in the opening 20 minutes, heading Gary Neville's cross inches wide of a post and then blazing a shot narrowly over the Celtic bar from 12 yards. But it was Celtic who took the lead against the run of play in the 21st minute. Goalkeeper Artur Boruc's long kick downfield looked easy for Ferdinand to clear, but the England man made a hash of chesting it down and was robbed by Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink. The Celtic striker, with a name more befitting Dutch ability than football, coolly pounced to rob Ferdinand, and take the ball on 10 yards into the United box and score with a crisp left-foot shot which goalkeeper Edwin Van der Sar could only help into the net.
United regained the lead two minutes after the interval. Scholes released Saha into the Celtic box and, although Boruc made a superb save from the Frenchman, the ball flew across goal for Solskjaer to stab home his left-foot shot six yards from the far post. It was the Norwegian's first European goal for almost three years. United stormed forward in search of more goals. Boruc made fantastic saves to deny Saha and Wayne Rooney, but his best effort came when he kept out a header from one of his own players. In the 83rd minute, Paul Telfer beat Saha to Darren Fletcher's cross and his header was brilliantly turned onto the post by the Celtic goalkeeper.