PARIS: Celtic took a giant step towards reaching the Champions League group stages for the first time in four years with a 2-0 win over Swedish side Helsingborg. The Glasgow giants took command of this first-leg play-off in large thanks to Georgios Samaras, who played a pivotal part in both goals. If everything goes according to plan they will go through to the lucrative group stages of Europe’s premier club competition. That could well include Dynamo Kiev, 3-1 winners at Borussia Moenchengladbach, but French side Lille have plenty of work to do after a 1-0 defeat at FC Copenhagen. In other ties, Spartak Moscow enjoyed a 2-1 home win over Turkish visitors Fenerbahce while Swiss outfit FC Basel suffered a 2-1 loss to CFR Cluj of Romania.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 23rd, 2012.