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Oct 24, 2012

Tito: Belief responsible for comeback win

Barcelona coach Tito Vilanova said that belief not luck was behind his side finally breaking Celtic's resistance with a 94th minute winner in their Champions League clash on Tuesday.

• Celtic 'gutted' after defeat
• Blog: Better late than never

Jordi Alba's late strike completed the Catalans' 2-1 comeback victory, after Celtic had taken an early lead when Georgios Samaras' header deflected into the net off Javier Mascherano.

Andres Iniesta equalised for Barca just before half time after a neat passing move and the visitors retreated further and further back as the second half progressed. Celtic appeared to have held out until Alba appeared at the back post seconds from the final whistle to knock an Adriano Correia cross into the net.

Vilanova, whose side are now making a habit of coming from behind and scoring late winners, said Barca had deserved the victory for the chances they had created throughout.

"We are giving everything and cannot do any more than keep playing," Vilanova said. "It is positive for us that we never give in. We deserved the win. We had many chances, possession and lots of shots. We knew it would not be a cakewalk. We fought right until the end. Luck does not come into it."

The Catalan press have compared Barca's current run of last-gasp wins with more tranquil victories under Pep Guardiola in previous seasons. Vilanova said there had been plenty of close calls in other years too, and joked that at least fans were being entertained at the moment.

"Previously we won games and now we are doing so too, by the minimum and with comebacks," he said. "They said we bored people, well not at the moment. Hopefully we will have a relaxed game some day..."

Alba said Barcelona had shown that they always keep going for the win, right until the last minute of games.

"This team keeps showing since the start of the season that until the last moment, until the horn sounds, they can win the game," the left-back said. "It is an important win, gives us nine points, but there is a long way left yet."

The other goalscorer Iniesta claimed that Barca had deserved to take the three points, which maintained their 100% record in this year's competition, and all but sealed a spot in the next round.

"It would have been unjust if we had not won the game," he said. "The win came at the end, but it could and should have come earlier, because we had plenty of chances for it. We have made an important step towards the last 16, we could not be in a better situation, but we must keep going like this."

If anything Celtic had the luck as they went ahead in one of their very rare attacks, according to Mascherano, who was partnered by youngster Marc Bartra in the centre of the Catalans' defence.

"If the ball does not hit me I feel it was going straight into (goalkeeper) Victor Valdes' hands," he said. "Luck is not on my side at the moment. We had no (other) problems in defence, they did not create chances, I think we played well."

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