Football at Fenway Live Blog: Paul McGowan’s Shootout Goal Carries Celtic to Victory Over Sporting


Football at Fenway Live Blog: Paul McGowan's Shootout Goal Carries Celtic to Victory Over SportingShootout, Celtic 6-5: It takes six shooters, but Paul McGowan gets it done for Celtic.

First to kick for Sporting is Helder Postiga, who goes left — and Lukasz Zaluska gets a hand on it, but it still gets past him and into the net.

Celtic responds with a successful attempt of its own, before Sporting's Maniche fools Zaluska, burying the ball in the left corner as the goalkeeper dives right.

Then, it's up to Charles Mulgrew, who keeps pace by putting the ball exactly where Maniche did.

Next up is Anderson Polga — who is heartily booed — but fools Zaluska the same way Maniche did.

Ki Sung Yueng is up next for Celtic, and he makes it 3-3 with a shot to the left corner.

Sporting's fourth shooter is Nuno Andre Coelho, and he once again eludes Zaluska.

That brings up James Forrest for Celtic, and he scores again. Sporting then makes it 5-4, bringing up Celtic's regulation scorer, Georgios Samaras. He eludes Rui Patricio with ease, making it 5-5.

Then, in sudden death, Sporting's Liedson's bid goes high over the crossbar, placing all the pressure on Paul McGowan. He buries it in the right corner to give Celtic the win. Cue "Dirty Water."

End of regulation, 1-1: After a surge of late scoring on both sides, we'll head into a shootout. 

Second half, 91:51, 1-1: James Forrest nails one over the crossbar to barely miss putting Celtic up 2-1 in extra time.

Second half, 90:00, 1-1: A fan has charged the field and has been dragged off in a headlock by several security guards. The crowd responds as expected.

Second half, 87:23: Another great scoring opportunity for Sporting, another great save by Zaluska. This time, as Helder Postiga attempts to fire over his head, Zaluska extends and gets the tips of his fingers on the ball, deflecting it inches over the crossbar.

Second half, 85:35: Lukasz Zaluska just gets a toe on a close bid by Diogo Salomao, deflecting it behind the goal.

Second half, 81:04, 1-1: After a header by Diogo Salomao deflects off the crossbar, Helder Postiga corrals the rebound and just eludes a diving Lukasz Zaluska to knot things up at 1.

And contrary to popular belief, the sizable population of Sporting fans responds with a hearty ovation.

Second half, 77:32, Celtic 1-0: The frustration seems to be boiling over a bit for Sporting. A nasty (and unnecessary) push by Miguel Veloso results in another free kick for Celtic, but this time, there's no damage.

Second half, 71:00, Celtic 1-0: After Georgios Samaras is tripped up inside the box, he's issued a free kick and promptly puts Celtic up 1-0, eluding the dive of Rui Patricio. Patricio is totally fooled — he dives left, and the shot goes right. The crowd roars in response and is currently engaged in a "Let's Go Celtic" chant.

Second half, 67:52: Diogo Salomao takes a pass just inside the box and it gets deflected just outside the far post. Celtic's Paul McGowan comes back on the other end with an almost identical shot, but it's right at Rui Patricio.

Second half, 62:17: Scratch that — Sporting just had the best opportunity of the game. Andre Santos made a bid from the center of the box and saild over the crossbar by an inch or two. If it had been a tiny bit lower, it would've been just out of the reach of Celtic goaltender Lukasz Zaluska.

Second half, 59:25: Celtic's Mark Wilson fires a bid right outside the near post, wasting what has been Celtic's best scoring chance of the half.

Second half, 58:08: Celtic gets a corner kick after a long possession right outside the box, but amidst congestion in front of the net, Sporting heads it away.

Second half, 55:17: Ever since a brief skirmish between the two sides after a Celtic tackle around the 50-minute mark, there's been plenty of back-and-forth action but not too many scoring opportunities for either side.

Second half, 46:42: We're back on the field for the second half, and just as the action begins, Celtic is inches away from making it 1-0. Sporting goaltender Rui Patricio manages to get a hand on a header, tipping it just outside the far post.

Halftime: After a relatively tame first half, both sides head to the clubhouses deadlocked at zero.

It didn't seem like either side really got into much of a groove, with sparse scoring chances and very limited aggression. There wasn't even any nastiness between the clubs, and aside from a brief period at the end of the first half when Glenn Loovens was slow to get up, there weren't any injuries, either.

First half, 41:01 Celtic's Glenn Loovens makes the defensive play of the game. Sporting's Carlos Saleiro charges and catches goaltender Lukasz Zaluska out of position, and as he's facing an open net, Loovens swoops in behind him and clears the ball right behind the goal.

The Celtic-fan-heavy crowd responds accordingly.

First half, 37:35: Celtic comes the closest of either team to scoring, as Georgios Samaras takes a perfect pass at the right corner of the box and shoots near post, but misses high.

First half, 32:06: Simon Vukcevic delivers a perfect shot from just outside the box, but unfortunately, it's right into the waiting arms of goalkeeper Lukasz Zaluska.

First half, 28:32: The officials miss a bad tackle in favor of Sporting — so bad that even the crowd, fully in support of Celtic, boos. Carlos Saleiro faceplants into the grass and raises his arms in disbelief, but the game just keeps on rolling.

First half, 26:16: Finally, Celtic returns the favor to Portugal, putting a shot on net — and although it's way off the mark, the crowd responds with a massive ovation.

First half, 23:43: Every time Sporting gets close to the goal, Celtic swoops in and thwarts all possible scoring chances. After a Celtic player intercepts the ball to the right of the box and boots it out of bounds, Sporting gets a corner kick, which is tipped out by Celtic once again.

First half, 18:45: Sporting wastes several consecutive scoring chances — on the first, a good pass sails outside the box only to be returned right to the center, but two Sporting players can't manage to get a handle on it and Celtic regains possession.

First half, 15:54: The crowd gets excited as a Miguel Veloso bid sails way over the net; it initially looked like it had a chance, but it ended up being way off the mark.

First half, 11:52: On Tuesday, Sam Kennedy announced that 30,000 tickets had been sold for the game, and despite the unfavorable weather forecast, the crowd has turned out. There are only a few splotches of empty red seats around Fenway — and most of the fans are wearing green.

First half, 7:24: Another solid bid for Sporing, but this time, Celtic intercepts the pass right in front of the net and clears the ball with a header.

First half, 2:38: Portugal almost gets an early scoring opportunity, but the ball is overshot just inside the penalty box.

Neither team is attacking with much aggression right now; the game definitely has the feel of a scrimmage.

First half, 0:05: Celtic is attacking the goal outside the Red Sox bullpen, while Sporting is attacking the goal outside the visitor's dugout.

7:56 p.m.: The home crowd is decidedly in favor of Celtic, heartily booing Sporting as it enters the field and rising in support of the men in green and white.

7:39 p.m.: Both teams are out on the field for their pregame warmups, and slowly but surely, the park is filling.

7:11 p.m.: To the immense relief of the Fenway Park grounds crew, the sun is out, the skies are (relatively) clear and everything is looking good for the first-ever Football at Fenway matchup.

The starters have also been named for both squads.

Celtic FC

Georgios Samaras
Marc Fortune
Scott Brown (C)
Ki Sung Yueng
Patrick McCourt
James Forrest

Cha Du Ri
Charles Mulgrew
Glenn Loovens
Darren Odea

Lukasz Zaluska

Sporting CP

Simon Vukcevic
Carlos Saleiro
Pedro Mendes (C)
Matias Fernandez
Jaime Valdes
Miguel Veloso

Marco Torsiglieri
Leandro Grimi

Rui Patricio

5 p.m.: On a rainy afternoon at Fenway Park, while the Red Sox attempt a comeback against Oakland in California, there’s only one concern on the home front: the Fenway field conditions.

As Sporting CP and Celtic FC prepare to do exhibition battle at Fenway, the grounds crew desperately hopes that thunderstorms and rainfall hold off in the name of preserving the outfield grass. The sky looks a bit ominous, but here’s hoping the worst is over.

We’re about three hours away from game time, but check back until then for updates on lineups and more.

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