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Friday, Nov. 9, 2012

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Rain man: Manchester United's Wayne Rooney reacts after scoring against Braga in Champions League action on Wednesday. AP

Barca beaten on wild night


ROME — Barcelona lost for the first time since August, and Manchester United and Chelsea needed late goals to win on an unusual night of Champions League action on Wednesday.

Barcelona had been unbeaten in 12 matches since the Spanish Super Cup against Real Madrid before falling 2-1 at Celtic, which is two points behind the Spanish power with two matches remaining.

"It is not the first time we have lost a game like this and it won't be the last," Barcelona coach Tito Vilanova said.

United came back from a goal down to beat Braga 3-1 and qualify for the second round in a match that was stopped briefly because of a light outage.

Defending champion Chelsea needed a header from Victor Moses four minutes into injury time to beat Shakhtar Donetsk 3-2.

Last season's runnerup, Bayern Munich, routed Lille 6-1, and Italian champion Juventus had a 4-0 win over Danish side Nordsjaelland.

In other games, Galatasaray won its first away match in the competition in 10 years by beating CFR Cluj 3-1 with a hat trick from Burat Yilmaz; midfielder Sofiane Feghouli scored twice to help Valencia beat BATE Borisov 4-2 and take the lead in Group F; and substitute Oscar Cardozo scored two second-half goals to give Benfica a 2-0 win over Spartak Moscow.

In Scotland, Victor Wanyama headed Celtic in front in the 21st minute and teenage substitute Tony Watt rounded off another swift counterattack in the 83rd. All four-time champion Barcelona could muster was a stoppage time goal from three-time FIFA player of the year Lionel Messi.

Barcelona has nine points in Group G, Celtic is next with seven, Benfica has four and Spartak three.

In Portugal, Braga went ahead with a 49th-minute penalty from Alan and the score remained 1-0 when the game was suspended for about 10 minutes in the second half because of a floodlight failure.

When the lights came back on, it was all United. Robin van Persie equalized in the 80th, Wayne Rooney converted a penalty in the 84th and Javier Hernandez tapped in from short range in injury time.

United has an insurmountable 12 points in Group H. Cluj and Galatasaray are next with four each and Braga is last with three.

In London, Chelsea was outplayed for large periods and surrendered the lead twice, with Willian scoring both of Shakhtar's goals in the ninth and 47th minutes to enhance his burgeoning reputation.

Fernando Torres had scored Chelsea's opener in the sixth and Oscar had reclaimed the lead for the hosts in the 40th with a stunning 15-meter shot, with goalkeeper Andriy Pyatov to blame for both goals after botching attempted clearances.

Moses had the last laugh as Chelsea finished strongly, the substitute heading in Mata's cross with almost the last touch of the game.

Shakhtar and Chelsea each have seven points atop Group E, with the Ukrainian side ahead on goal difference. Juventus is a point behind and Nordsjaelland is last with one point.

Bouncing back from its first Serie A loss in two seasons on the weekend, Juventus got goals from Claudio Marchisio, Arturo Vidal, Sebastian Giovinco and substitute Fabio Quagliarella.

"Clearly we need to beat Chelsea and then battle it out with Shakhtar," said Juventus assistant Angelo Alessio, who is filling in on the touchline while head coach Antonio Conte serves a four-month ban for match-fixing.

Clandestine plan made


FRANKFURT — The German Football Federation (DFB) had a secret plan to firecoach Juergen Klinsmann during the 2006 World Cup at home if the tournament had gone badly for the host team, according to former DFB president Theo Zwanziger.

Zwanziger says he and three other top DFB officials, including World Cup organizing committee chief Franz Beckenbauer, devised the plan to fire Klinsmann during the tournament if it turned into a "sporting disaster" for Germany. Only the four men knew about the plan to replace Klinsmann with sporting director Matthias Sammer, who was unaware of the idea.

Zwanziger was never a friend of Klinsmann and installed Sammer over objections from Klinsmann.

Klinsmann led Germany to a third-place finish. He now coaches the United States.

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