Donati Celtic's Champions League hero

Society Materials 29 November 2007 03:05 (UTC +04:00)

( AFP ) - Massimo Donati was Celtic's Champions League hero as his injury time strike secured a 2-1 victory over Shakhtar Donetsk on Wednesday.

With the sides locked at 1-1, after the opener from Donetsk's Brazilian Brandao had been cancelled out by Celtic's Czech midfielder Jiri Jarosik, and the two minutes of added time almost up, the Italian pounced with a dramatic winner.

A draw would have left Shakhtar level on points with the Glasgow side but favourites to progress, due to their 2-0 victory at home giving them a better head-to-head record.

However, Celtic are now on nine points, three ahead of the Ukrainian side, ahead of their final Group D game away to AC Milan next month.

And yet things had started ominously for the Scottish champions.

In Ukraine Celtic had gifted Shakhtar an early lead and they repeated the crime with less than four minutes played in Glasgow.

A simple high ball through the middle should have been easily dealt with by centre-half John Kennedy.

Instead he fluffed his headed clearance which fell straight to Brandao and he gratefully fired the ball past Artur Boruc, despite the Polish goalkeeper managing to get a hand to the ball.

Things deteriorated further for Celtic when left-back Lee Naylor was stretchered off in the 16th minute, forcing midfielder Paul Hartley to move back to take his place and Donati coming on in the middle.

Celtic managed their first shot on goal in the 22nd minute, although Scott McDonald's effort from 20-yards was too high to trouble Shakhtar goalkeeper Andriy Pyatov.

Finally the home side were beginning to look dangerous and Dutch striker Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink was inches away from equalising in the 25th minute when his glancing header, from Gary Caldwell's cross, flashed just wide of the post.

Shakhtar Donetsk were not merely hanging to their lead, though, and Brandao's header in the 33rd minute, from Croatian Darijo Srna's corner, required Boruc to push over his bar.

Kennedy's night went from bad to worse when he seemed to fall awkwardly under a challenge from Brandao in the 41st minute and had to be replaced by Steven Pressley - making his first appearance of the season.

Things were not going to plan for the home side but in the 45th minute Shakhtar committed a defensive howler of their own to gift them an equaliser.

Caldwell's cross should not have caused any danger until the visitor's central defenders Dmytro Chygrynskiy and Srna clashed going for the same ball.

Celtic's Czech international Jarosik latched on to the loose ball and from eight-yards lashed it high into the net.

Suddenly the Celtic support roared into life and they should have been cheering a second goal in first half injury time.

Irish international Aiden McGeady's cross to the back post found Jarosik completely unmarked but he somehow managed to head wide from only a few yards out.

There were less goalscoring opportunities at the start of the second half, with the first real effort on goal coming from Shakhtar's Brazilian Jadson, although his shot from 20-yards was always rising well over Boruc's bar.

However, with the regulation 90 minutes played and only seconds remaining of the two minutes of added on time, Celtic scored their dramatic winner.

McGeady twisted and turned away from his marker on the right touchline before squaring for Donati 12-yards from goal and although the Italian did not strike the ball cleanly it bounced past the despairing dive of Pyatov and into the back of the net.