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  • Celtic lose to Inter Milan in Limerick

    Celtic lose to Inter Milan in Limerick

    By: Mark Henderson in Limerick on 13 Aug, 2016 21:00

  • International Champions Cup
    Thomond Park, Limerick
    Saturday, August 13, 2016


    (Eder 45, Candreva 71)

    GOALS in either half from Italian internationalists Eder and Antonio Candreva consigned Celtic to a 2-0 defeat against Inter Milan in the International Champions Cup in Limerick.

    Both teams spurned opportunities to make the breakthrough before Eder headed the Nerazzurri ahead seconds before the half-time whistle.

    The Scottish champions were on top early in the second half and only the width of the crossbar denied Nadir Ciftci a leveller.

    And that proved costly as Candreva sealed the victory for the Italian giants with 19 minutes left on the clock, chipping over the stranded Leo Fasan, who produced a number of excellent saves throughout the match.

    Nonetheless, there were plenty of positives for Brendan Rodgers to ponder as Celtic turn their attentions to next week’s UEFA Champions League play-off against Hapoel Be’er Sheva.  

    Dedryck Boyata made his long-awaited return from injury, which saw him miss Euro 2016 for Belgium, as Celtic contested their third and final match of the prestigious tournament.

    Along with naming the big defender in his starting XI, Brendan Rodgers gave several players who have been on the fringes of the first team in recent weeks a chance to impress, while a selection of Development Squad players were named on the bench.

    Frank de Boer, meanwhile, in his first game in charge of the Nerazzurri, had named a strong side, including the likes of Mauro Icardi, Eder, Ivan Perisic and Geoffrey Kondogbia.

    And it was the Serie A side who threatened first inside the opening three minutes when Perisic broke clear down the left and cut the ball back for Ever Banega, whose ferocious shot was brilliantly saved by Fasan.

    Celtic, however, soon settled into proceedings and began to string some passes together, and a powerful run from Ciftci, who captained the side, forced Andrea Rannochia into a foul, preventing the striker from breaking clear down the right.

    Fasan had to make another smart stop from the lively Perisic in the 12th minute, but the Hoops were growing in confidence and Inter keeper Samir Handanovic was called into action for the first time by Ryan Christie’s low shot from 20 yards after he had collected a return pass from Ciftci.

    Both then teams came close to opening the scoring. First, Stefan Johansen cleared Andrea Ranocchia’s header off the line in the 25th minute and then at the other end, Ciftci’s exquisite flick sent Stuart Armstrong through on goal but he couldn’t beat Handanovic.

    As the half wore on, the game was opening up and Kristoffer Ajer had to made a timely tackle on Icardi after the Argentina internationalist has fastened onto a ball over the top, while Fasan also had to make saves from Eder and Kondogbia.

    Brendan Rodgers’ side were constructing some fine passages of play themselves, though, with Liam Henderson and Christie prominent, and after the impressive Saidy Janko had embarked on a rampaging run into the box, the full-back picked Liam Henderson who lashed over.   

    On the stroke of half-time, however, Inter broke the deadlock. Fasan had mane another fine stop at his near post from Banega but only at the expense of a corner. When the cross came into the box, it was flicked on by Perisic and Eder was on hand to convert at the far post.

    Determined to give their thousands of Irish supporters something to cheer, Celtic grabbed the initiative at the start of the second half.

    Efe Ambrose, who had replaced Boyata at the interval, headed narrowly wide from Emilio Izaguirre’s searching cross following a corner.

    On the hour mark, Celtic came even closer to an equaliser.  After a wonderful interchange of passing, Armstrong lofted the ball towards Ciftci, who sent a first-time, dipping volley that crashed off the top of the bar with Handanovic rooted the spot.

    It was a superb effort from the Turkish striker that deserved better but in the 71st they found themselves trailing by two goals as substitute Antonio Candreva latched onto a pass down to the right and beat Fasan with a sublime lob.

    Despite this setback, Celtic, who had introduced 16-year-old Jack Aitchison from the bench for the closing stages, continued to persevere and the ever-willing Christie tried his luck twice to no avail, with Armstrong having the last effort of an entertaining friendly.

    CELTIC (4-3-3) Fasan; Janko, Boyata (Ambrose 46), McCart, Izaguirre; Henderson, Ajer, Johansen; Christie, Ciftci (Aitchison 76) Armstrong
    Not Used: Doohan, , Ralston, Miller, Hendry, Johnston

    INTER MILAN (4-3-3) Handanovic; D’Ambrosio, Ranocchia, Miranda, Nagatomo (Caner 78); Kondogbia, Medel (Jovetic 46), Banega (Melo 62); Eder, Icardi (Candreva 62), Perisic
    Not Used:  Murillo, Carrizo, Tommaso, Koffi, Senna   

    Website Man of the Match: Ryan Christie

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