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The Toe Poke
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By ESPN Staff

Hesselink forces draw against Middlesbrough

Middlesbrough 1-1 Celtic

Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink came off the bench to nod home a stoppage-time equaliser for Celtic in their Algarve Cup opener against Middlesbrough in Portugal tonight.

The Scottish champions were heading for defeat when Darren O'Dea's underhit backpass gifted Jeremie Aliadiere a bizarre opener 19 minutes from time.

Substitute O'Dea's ill-advised pass to Mark Brown saw the goalkeeper's attempted clearance charged down by Aliadiere, the ball rebounding off the striker's feet and into the net.

But Vennegoor of Hesselink levelled in the second minute of added time when Bobo Balde headed fellow substitute Paul Caddis' cross back across goal and the Dutchman stooped to nod home.

The result saw both sides claim two points apiece, one for the draw and one for scoring a goal. That put them three points behind Cardiff, who beat Vitoria Guimaraes 2-1 earlier tonight thanks to a double from former Motherwell striker Ross McCormack.

Celtic had chances to score in the first half, Georgios Samaras twice heading too close to Ross Turnbull after fine wing play from Aiden McGeady.

Boro's best moment came from Josh Walker, whose left-foot strike forced a fine save from Brown, while Mohamed Shawky was twice off target from outside the area.

The second half - which featured a raft of substitions - was even more cagey, though Brown did well to get fingertips to an Aliadiere snapshot.

Turnbull was almost caught out by a curling Barry Robson free-kick but he recovered well to parry.

After both sides netted, there was still time for Paul McGowan to nearly strike a winner for Celtic.

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