AALBORG, Denmark - Two fortunate deflections gave AaB Aalborg a stunning come-from-behind 2-1 win over Celtic in the Champions League on Tuesday. Neither team can reach the knockout round after Manchester United and Villarreal drew 0-0 in the other Group E match but Aalborg will finish third and qualify for the UEFA Cup. Barry Robson put Celtic ahead but Caca equalised with a shot that took a deflection and Aalborg snatched a shock winner three minutes from time when an attempted clearance by Glen Loovens went in off Gary Caldwell. Both teams started the match cautiously in below-freezing temperatures, with Aalborg looking more nervous and giving away some easy balls while Celtic controlled the midfield. In the 25th minute, Celtic's Scott McDonald launched Shunsuke Nakamura alone in the penalty box, but the Japanese winger lifted the ball over the crossbar with only Danish keeper Karim Zaza to beat. The hosts' only chance of the first half came in the 36th minute, when Michael Jakobsen tested Artur Boruc with a fierce header from a corner but the Celtic keeper was well placed and pushed the ball over the bar. At the other end, Georgios Samaras was left unmarked on the six-metre line five minutes later but headed wide after a Nakamura free kick. Aalborg showed more spunk early in the second half as Thomas Enevoldsen sent a blistering left-foot shot from the edge of the box just over the crossbar. Scotland international Robson, who missed a penalty when the two teams drew 0-0 in their first group meeting in Glasgow, put Celtic ahead in the 53rd minute when he headed Mark Wilson's cross past Zaza. With Aalborg seemingly demoralised, Caldwell dribbled past three Danish defenders in the 65th minute only to shoot straight at Zaza from five metres. Aalborg's luck turned in the 73rd minute when Caca's long range shot sailed over Boruc aided by a slight deflection off Stephen McManus. The Danish champions surged forward and disaster struck for Celtic in the 87th minute. Loovens tried to clear away a cross by Andreas Johansson but the ball hit Caldwell and ricocheted into the net. "This is a dream," Aalborg midfielder Thomas Augustinussen said on Danish television. "It was looking bad, but we came from behind and scored twice. Now we're in third place and it's fantastic." Celtic have now stretched their winless streak in away Champions League matches to 20, with one draw and 19 defeats.
25 November 2008
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