Play To The Last Minute
Updated Monday, 2nd April 2007
There is only so much you can do when faced with a Nakamura free kick.
Dundee United keeper Derek Stillie admitts that Shunsuke Nakamura's "fantastic" free-kick put paid to his side's plans ahead of the 1-1 draw with Celtic on Saturday. Stillie and his fellow defenders could only look on in anguish as Nakamura whipped his shot over a static defensive wall to find the bottom corner of United's goal to allow Celtic to take an early second-half lead. Things were looking well for Celtic to record their second win in March, especially when they saw United captain Barry Robson sent off in the 89th minute for violent conduct off-the-ball. However, United rallied late on and in the second minute of injury time, Jon Daly chested down a long ball forward from Stuart Duff to volley past Artur Boruc from 20 yards.
That goal came as particular relief to Stillie, who believes once Nakamura got the ball over his wall, there was nothing he could do to stop Celtic taking the lead. He said: "We have worked on being aware of his ability at free-kicks and we are conscious of what he can do. We did everything that we talked about doing in trying to stop it, apart from the fact that the wall didn't jump. That's the reason that the ball got over and into the corner. Sometimes with players like that you can't look out for all eventualities and I have to guard my bit in the goal while trying to get some help from the wall, because he is so skilled in those positions. Four Lee Wilkies on step ladders would probably have helped. But you just have to hold your hands up and say it was a fantastic free-kick".
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