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Rediff.com  » Sports » Champions League PHOTOS: Stoppage time winner books group spot for Celtic

Champions League PHOTOS: Stoppage time winner books group spot for Celtic

August 29, 2013 08:35 IST

Champions League Photos: Stoppage time winner books group spot for Celtic

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Celtic winger James Forrest scored a dramatic stoppage time winner to secure his club a Champions League group stage place on Wednesday alongside AC Milan, Real Sociedad, Zenit StPetersburg and Czech champions Viktoria Plzen.

-Champions League PHOTOS: Schalke, Vienna, Steaua qualify amid drama

The five clubs will go into Thursday's 32-team draw for the lucrative group phase, where all participating clubs earn a basic fee of 8.6 million euros ($11.47 million) plus a million for each win and half a million for a draw.

Celtic, inspired by the fervour of their Glasgow supporters, overturned a two-goal deficit from the first leg to beat Shakhter Karagandy of Kazakhstan 3-0 and secure a group stage spot for the second year in a row.


Image: Players surround James Forrest of Celtic after he scored the winning goal
Photographs: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

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'This is the greatest night of my football life'

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They overcame early jitters to score through KrisCommons on the stroke of halftime and then levelled the aggregate tally through Giorgios Samaras early in the second half.

The 3-2 aggregate triumph was secured with only seconds remaining at the end of a mazy run through the defence from Anthony Stokes that set up Forrest's goal for a grandstand finish to maintain the tradition of rousing nights of European competition at CelticPark.

"This is the greatest night of my football life," said Celtic manager Neil Lennon. "I never come across Real Madrid, so that's something I'd like and a Battle of Britain would be great as well.

"But I don't care. I'm just delighted that we will be in the Champions League again."


Image: James Forrest of Celtic
Photographs: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

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AC Milan advanced

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AC Milan, advanced to the group phase for a 17th time, moving swiftly to quell the potential threat of PSV Eindhoven's much vaunted young side.

Kevin-Prince Boateng scored with a rasping shot from outside the area inside the opening 10 minutes.

He added another 13 minutes from the end after Mario Balotelli had scored the second for the seven-times European champions, who won 3-0 at San Siro for a 4-1 aggregate triumph.

PSV, with an average age of just over 22 and four teenagers in the starting lineup, had two early chances but MIlan then went ahead through Boateng's love 25-metres shot in the ninth minute.


Image: Mario Balotelli of AC Milan and Jeffrey Bruma of PSV compete for the ball
Photographs: Claudio Villa/Getty Images

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Vela double

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Carlos Vela scored both goals as Real Sociedad also dominated at home against France's Olympique Lyon to replicate their 2-0 away triumph in last week's first leg.

Vela's opening effort came in the 67th minute and was followed by a run from the halfway line on the final whistle, finishing with aplomb to put Sociedad in the group phase for a second time, a decade after their initial appearance.

Viktoria Plzen will also play in the group phase for the second time where a massive boost to their modest budget awaits.

Stanislav Tecl tucked the ball away in the bottom left hand corner after only three minutes to secure a 1-0 win at Maribor of Slovenia and a 4-1 aggregate triumph.


Image: Carlos Vela of Real Sociedad jumps while celebrating scoring
Photographs: Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

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Danny sizzles in Zenit St Petersburg showdown

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Two goals from Portuguese international Danny against compatriots Pacos Ferreira helped Zenit StPetersburg complete the formality of a tie decided last week when the Russians won 4-1 away in the first leg.

They won the return match 4-2 in late summer sunshine in Russia for a convincing 8-3 aggregate triumph.

Danny's first came after a storming run down the left from Igor Smolnikov while his second was a sublime chip over the opposing goalkeeper Degras after a remarkable run around the back of the visiting defence.


Image: Danny of FC Zenit St Petersburg
Photographs: Miguel Riopa/EuroFootball/Getty Images

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