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  • Celtic fall to disappointing defeat in Gibraltar

    Celtic fall to disappointing defeat in Gibraltar

    By: Mark Henderson in Gibraltar on 12 Jul, 2016 20:58

  • UEFA Champions League second qualifying round
    Victoria Stadium, Gibraltar
    Tuesday, July 12, 2016

    (L. Casciaro 48)


    CELTIC were left stunned in Gibraltar after Lee Casciaro’s early second-half goal gave Lincoln Red Imps a shock 1-0 win over the Scottish champions.

    The Hoops dominated possession and hit the bar twice through Leigh Griffiths but they now head into the second-leg next week in Paradise having to overcome an unexpected one-goal deficit to reach the third qualifying round.

    Brendan Rodgers made just the one change to the team that started against Maribor three days ago, with Tom Rogic coming in for the injured Stefan Johansen as the manager switched to a 4-2-3-1 formation.

    The match settled into a predicable pattern straight from the kick-off as Celtic dominated possession and the home side sat in and defended in depth, leaving Lee Casciaro with the unenviable position of lone striker.

    For all the Hoops’ control of the ball in the early stages, however, they failed to test Raul Navas in the Lincoln goal, with the sticky artificial surface not aiding matters.

    Ryan Christie dragged a shot well wide from distance and Leigh Griffiths made two incisive runs down the right, but there were no takers for his inviting crosses.

    This was proving the story of the first-half for the Scottish champions as they failed to capitalise on several promising positions.

    And the first shot on target came from the home side on a rare foray forward as winger Liam Walker cut in from the right and pulled the trigger, but Craig Gordon was well placed at his near post to make a comfortable save.

    Moussa Dembele did have the ball in the net in the 32nd minute when he headed home Scott Brown’s free-kick but the referee disallowed the goal for a foul on Navas. It looked a harsh decision.

    After collecting a return pass from Christie, Rogic did find the target but it lacked power to trouble Navas as Celtic continude to probe for openings.

    Dembele was becoming a greater threat and he brought out a smart save from Navas with a fierce shot from the edge of the box after some good close control. The young striker, celebrating his 20th birthday today, came close again as half-time approached when he darted into the box but this time he couldn’t direct his shot on target.

    Griffiths flashed a shot into Navas’ arms as Celtic upped the tempo as the second half got underway, but three minutes after the restart they were stunned as Lincoln took the lead. From an innocuous long ball, Lee Casciaro managed to evade the attentions of Efe Ambrose and his miss-hit shot bobbled over Gordon to send the home crowd into delirium.

    Antonio Calderon almost doubled the lead moments later but his curling shot crept narrowly over, while Walker and Yeray Patino also flashed in efforts as the Hoops regrouped after the shock of falling behind.

    Just before the hour-mark, the Bhoys were within inches of levelling the match as Janko burst into the box from the right and the cut the ball back into the box. The ball dropped for Griffiths, whose shot deflected on to the underside of the bar before being headed behind.

    Brendan Rodgers then made a double change, sending on Stuart Armstrong and James Forrest for Rogic and Christie. And the two subs combined in the 70th minute, with Forrest picking out Armstrong in the middle but the midfielder couldn’t keep his shot down.

    Griffiths, by now playing through the middle, came agonisingly close to an equaliser 12 minutes from time. Fouled on the edge of the area, he picked himself up and took the resultant free-kick but saw his thumping drive cannon off the bar. Nir Bitton was unable to convert the rebound.

    Celtic were now piling on the pressure – Sviatchenko headed wide from a corner and Kieran Tierney saw a shot blocked in the box falling Armstrong’s lay-off.

    Nadir Ciftci had also been introduced to the fray in place for Dembele and the striker was denied by an outstanding save from Navas as the game entered its closing stages. Tierney picked out the Turkish striker in the box and his header looked destined for the far corner until Navas’ acrobatic intervention.

    Despite some desperate late attacks, the visitors couldn’t fashion a goal, with Ciftci coming closest with another header following Janko’s delivery as the final whistle sparked huge celebrations from the Lincoln players and the home crowd.

    CELTIC (4-2-3-1) Gordon; Janko, Ambrose, Sviatchenko, Tierney; Brown, Bitton; Griffiths, Rogic (Armstrong 57), Christie (Forrest 57); Dembele (Ciftci 74)
    Not Used: Fasan, Lustig, McGregor, Roberts

    LINCOLN RED IMPS (5-4-1) Navas; Garcia, Casciaro, R. Chipolina, Morgardo, J. Chipolina; Walker (Bardon 87), Patino (G.Chipolina 90 +4), Calderon, K. Casciaro; L. Casciaro (Cabrera 74)
    Not Used: Soler,Rojas, Amaro


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