CHAD WINGER - Wednesday, October 24, 2007
DaMarcus Beasley and Freddy Adu both saw their teams help their causes at home in the third matchday of the Champions League group stage.
Rangers 0 - 0 Barcelona
On the heels of their destruction of city rivals Celtic, Rangers produced another sharp performance in holding Spanish club Barcelona at Ibrox Stadium.
American DaMarcus Beasley was not preferred to Nacho Novo in attack and began the match on bench, relieving the Spaniard in the 72nd minute.
Despite the scoreline, both teams were offensive minded, and Barcelona were the first to come close when Lionel Messi had a close range attempt cleared off the line in the 13th minute by Carlos Cuellar.
Nine minutes later, a Ronaldinho free-kick was tipped onto the crossbar by keeper Allan McGregor, and with the hosts first real chance, Novo stuck a 20-yarder on target, but the effort was blocked by Andres Iniesta.
Thierry Henry had the best chance for the guests in the second half when he somehow skied a simple header over the bar from five yards out in the 67th.
Beasley was in the area of Rangers' best opportunity in the 80th minute when Barry Ferguson crossed in for Daniel Cousin. The former-PSV man cut short his run for Gabon international who one-timed his volley just wide of the net.
The two teams face off again in the the group stage rematch in two week at Nou Camp.
Benfica 1 - 0 Celtic
Freddy Adu played the final half hour as Benfica kept their hopes of advancing from the group stages alive.
Neither team looked anything near Champions League quality in the first half, and it wasn't until the 50th minute that a true chance came when Oscar Cardozo headed on target from point-blank range, only to be foiled by Celtic keeper Artur Boruc.
Rui Costa then went close with back to back shots before Aiden McGeady tested Quim with piledriver after embarrassing defender Leo.
Cristian Rodriguez teed up Cardozo in the 64th which the Uruguayan somehow clanked off underside for the bar from 12 feet out. A minute later, Cardozo struck more woodwork with a left-footed curler from 20-yards that hit the post.
Adu replaced the ineffective Gonzalo Bergessio for the second consecutive match in the 61st, and minutes later tried Boruc with a powerful shot from a full 25-yards which was blocked out for a corner.
In the 81st minute, the twice-capped Adu was felled by Jiri Jarosik outside the area, leaving the American to the free kick which was on frame, and bumbled by Boruc with Cardozo waiting to pounce.
Six minutes later, Cardozo finally got his deserved winner when he beat an offside trap, chested down an Angel Di Maria chip and beat Boruc from close range.
Celtic host Adu and Co. in two weeks at Celtic Park.