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Samaras stars as Celtic close in on Champions League berth
- Updated: August 22, 2012
Giorgos Samaras scored and assisted another in Celtic’s 2-0 win over Helsingborg on Tuesday night as the Scottish Champions took their UEFA Champions League play-off round tie by the throat ahead of next week’s return leg in Scotland.
Samaras didn’t take long to make an impact at Olympia as the Greek international played a stunning cross for Chris Commons for the opener just two minutes into the contest. Samaras’ centering cross was met with a brilliant volley from Commons, who eluded a handful of markers in order to get on the end of his team-mate’s cross.
A vital part of the attack, Samaras proved his worth yet again as he extended Celtic’s lead 15 minutes from time. The tall forward used his height to make the most of Commons’ corner-kick, which dipped at the far post but just perfectly for Samaras who cushioned a header from a slightly awkward angle.
Holding on for the win, Celtic will look to wrap-up a berth in the group stage next week in Glasgow when Helsingborg visit Celtic Park. Samaras’ goal is his second of the season in the UEFA Champions League preliminary rounds — the Greek striker also scored in the deciding leg against HJK Helsinki nearly a fortnight ago.
Kapetanos features, Klonaridis sits out
Meanwhile in Switzerland, Pantelis Kapetanos made an appearance for Cluj as the Romanian club made an impressive start to their UEFA Champions League play-off round tie against Swiss side Basel.
Kapetanos, a former Greek international, made an appearance in Cluj’s impressive come from behind victory at St. Jakob Park. Starting the match for the Liga I Champions, Kapetanos was replaced by Ronny early in the second half but not before picking up a caution. Eventually it would be Kapetanos’ attacking team-mate Modou Sougou that would steal the show for Cluj — the Senegalese striker scoring a brace to set-up the tie nicely heading into next week’s return leg in Romania.
Ligue 1 side Lille lost 1-0 to FC Kobenhavn, but that match didn’t see Viktor Klonaridis make an appearance even on the bench. The former AEK player signed with the French club this off-season, but has yet to make an appearance for Rudi Garcia’s side in both domestic and continental competitions thus far this season.