Barca leave it late to conquer brave Bhoys
THERE was injury-time heartache at Camp Nou for Celtic on Tuesday night as Jordi Alba’s last-gasp goal gave Barcelona a 2-1 victory in a dramatic evening of Champions League action.
The Bhoys had looked like holding out for a brilliant draw until Alba popped up with nearly 94 minutes on the clock to give Barca, the 1-12 pre-match favourites, maximum points.
Celtic had been 45-1 to win but shocked the Catalans when Georgios Samaras was credited with the opening goal – he was matched at 40 on Betfair to break the deadlock – only for Andres Iniesta to equalise just before the half-time interval.
Barca drifted to 13.5 on Betfair with the draw at 1.1 and Alex Donohue of Ladbrokes, who make Celtic 13-8 to qualify, was gutted at the climax.
“It was a massive swing,” said Donohue. “We were sitting on the result of the season – it would have taken out all the accas.”
Manchester United are 10-1 to win the Champions League after coming from two down at Old Trafford to beat Braga 3-2. Javier Hernandez’s double and a Jonny Evans goal earned a relieved Sir Alex Ferguson three points.
“The United result was very, very expensive in-play,” said bet365’s Steve Freeth and Coral’s head of football Nick Goff added: “Had Braga held on it would have a been a bonanza, we still won but it could have been one of the best set of results in years.”
It wasn’t ideal preparation for Sunday’s massive match with Chelsea but United will be feeling better than the Stamford Bridge side, who were thoroughly outplayed by Shakhtar in a 2-1 defeat in Donetsk.
Oscar’s late consolation put a flattering touch on the scoreline and the Champions League holders face a scrap to qualify, although Juventus’ surprise 1-1 draw away to Nordsjaelland means Hills still quote the Blues at 1-3 to reach the last 16.
Juve let down their backers at just 4-11 but fellow favourites Valencia (3-0 at BATE Borisov) and Bayern (1-0 at Lille) did the business for their followers.
There were plenty of goals throughout the Champions League and Football League on Tuesday night with Derby’s 2-1 win at Ipswich leading to reports that Town boss Paul Jewell had left the club, and punters who backed both teams to score were in clover.
Betfred’s Mark Pearson said: “We’ve done our conkers on the goals galore market. It’s a minimum £750,000 loss and that figure is rising as we survey the damage.”