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Nov 8, 2012

Messi rues missed chances in Barca loss

Lionel Messi blamed Barcelona's shock 2-1 Champions League defeat to Celtic on poor finishing as the Spanish giants stumbled to their first group-stage loss in three years.

• Blog: Barca denied by Celtic wall

Messi insists Barcelona's performance on Wednesday evening was better than when they defeated their Scottish opponents by the same scoreline at the Camp Nou last month. However, the Argentina skipper, Alexis Sanchez, Xavi and Andres Iniesta wasted their opportunities in front of goal on this occasion.

The woodwork denied Messi and Sanchez, while Celtic goalkeeper Fraser Forster made a number of crucial saves as the home side went ahead through Victor Wanyama and Tony Watt. Messi eventually scored a late consolation, but conceded Barcelona needed to make more of their earlier chances in order to get something out of the game.

"We did everything well, played better than two weeks ago against them, but the ball didn't go in," Messi said.

"The same thing happened at the Camp Nou. They played defensively and they waited to make fast counter-attacks. They are very comfortable on corners and set-pieces, and that's how they scored their two goals."

Meanwhile, Barcelona boss Tito Vilanova congratulated Celtic on their upset triumph, but refused to fault his players on their effort or performance.

"We interpreted the game well, knew what we wanted to do, created many chances, but didn't finish well and their 'keeper was great," he said. "I don't like to lose, but if we have to lose, let it be this way."

Barcelona remain on top of Group G on nine points, while Celtic lifted themselves into second place, above Benfica and Spartak Moscow.

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