Celtic held on big-stage return
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Celtic failed to get their Champions League campaign off to a flying start as they were held to a goalless draw by Group G rivals Benfica at Parkhead on Wednesday.

After an absence of four years the Hoops had been desperate to announce their arrival back in the competition with a win. But they had to settle for a point against the Lisbon side in a match where clear cut chances were few and far between.

Despite a frantic start the home side failed to test Benfica keeper Artur Moraes and it was the Portuguese who came closest with Fraser Forster doing well to deny Moreno Rodrigo's shot. The keeper had to be sharp to denied Ezequiel Garay at the start of the second half while Celtic had a penalty appeal turned down after James Forrest fell in the box as neither side could make the breakthrough.

Favourites Barcelona top Group G after coming from behind to claim a 3-2 win over Spartak Moscow at Camp Nou. At Celtic Park, Gary Hooper, who had been struggling with a knock, was named on the bench as Miku started as the lone striker while Benfica left top scorer Oscar Cardozo on the bench.

In a frenzied start, Celtic had a chance immediately when Kris Commons sent a chipped effort over the bar. The game was barely 90 seconds old when Miku set Commons up for another effort but his shot was blocked and the danger cleared.

Celtic were pinning Benfica back in their own half, but despite their dominance of possession they failed to test the Portuguese keeper. However, Benfica, who topped a group containing Manchester United on their way to last season's quarter-finals, fired a warning shot in the 32nd minute when Rodrigo chased a long ball behind the Celtic defence but Forster rushed from his line to block the Spaniard's shot.

Moments later Benfica launched a quick counter-attack from a Celtic corner but Kelvin Wilson made an important tackle to stop Nicolas Gaitan just over the half way line. Benfica came close to opening the scoring in the 62nd minute when Garay stooped low to get his head on Gaitan's corner but Forster dived low to turn it round his near post.

The Portuguese side sensed an opportunity and Cardozo was soon off the bench to replace captain Pablo Aimar in a bid to get the winner. In an attempt to reclaim the initiative Celtic replaced the ineffectual Emilio Izaguirre with Hooper in the hope Artur would finally be tested.

The game became more stretched with Benfica's Eduardo Salvio sending a long-range shot harmlessly over the bar before substitute Bruno Cesar curled his effort just over the upright.

Commons tried his luck with an audacious chip from the half way line but Artur was equal to it before referee Nicola Rizzoli waved away their penalty claims when Forrest went down in the box under the challenge of Lorenzo Melgarejo.