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  • Frustration as Celts held by Rosenborg in Paradise

    Frustration as Celts held by Rosenborg in Paradise

    By: Mark Henderson on 26 Jul, 2017 21:43

  • UEFA Champions League third qualifying round, first-leg
    Celtic Park, Glasgow
    Wednesday, July 26, 2017



    CELTIC were held to a goal-less draw by Rosenborg on a frustrating night in Paradise, leaving the UEFA Champions League third qualifying round tie evenly poised ahead of next week’s second-leg in Norway.  

    Despite dominating large swathes of the contest, the Hoops couldn’t find the net against the Norwegian title-winners to secure the lead they wanted to take to Trondheim.

    But, Brendan Rodgers’ side, having not conceded an away goal, will still feel confident of earning a positive result in the away leg and progressing to the next round.      

    With injuries to Dedryck Boyata and Erik Sviatchenko, Norwegian teenager Kristoffer Ajer made his first competitive start for the Hoops against his compatriots, partnering Jozo Simunovic in central defence.

    Elsewhere, Stuart Armstrong was also restored to the starting XI in the only other change to the team who dispatched Linfield with ease 4-0 last week. He was part of a midfield triumvirate alongside new signing Olivier Ntcham and captain Scott Brown, who played his 84TH European match – a record for a Scottish player. 

    Up front, the Scottish treble-winners also went with an attacking trident, with James Forrest and Scott Sinclair operating on the flanks, and Tom Rogic stationed in the central position vacated by the suspended Leigh Griffiths and injured Moussa Dembele.  

    Bossing possession, Celtic controlled the early exchanges, but it took them until the 10th minute to fashion their first opening. Ntcham picked out the run of Armstrong with a delicate ball over the top, and when the midfielder’s effort was blocked by Tore Reginiusssen, Rogic was unable to get the rebound under control.

    A quickly-taken corner provided the next opportunity as Forrest saw a shot charged down at the edge of the box. Ajer then demonstrated his aerial prowess, heading over from the resultant set-piece.  

    It was one-way traffic at this stage, with Brendan Rodgers’ side denying the visitors the chance to build any momentum with their aggression and work-rate.  And some patient, probing play, Forrest fastened onto a driven ball into the box and had two shots blocked in quick succession.

    At the midway point of the half, Rosenborg embarked on their first meaningful forward foray. Mike Jensen picked out Milan Jevtovic’s run in behind and, although the winger managed to evade Kiernan Tierney, Ajer was across quickly to avert the danger.

    Boosted by that, the Norwegian outfit briefly emerged from their defensive shell, Craig Gordon only being called into action once when pushing over a cross-shot.

    As half-time approached, the Hoops resumed the ascendency but they were finding it tough to breach the tightly-packed Rosenborg rearguard, particularly without a focal point in attack.

    Scampering onto Sinclair’s pass, Tierney did provide some penetration when he dug out a cross from the byline, though Forrest was unable to profit in the middle.  

    The same pattern continued after the restart, with Celtic dictating proceedings but struggling to unlock the Rosenborg backline.

    Emboldened at the state of play, Kare Ingebrigtsen’s side became more adventurous, and Gordon had to make an excellent save to tip over Vegar Hedenstad’s free-kick from a narrow angle.   

    Forrest replied for the hosts, firing over from Armstrong’s corner, but then they had a huge let-off as Yann-Erik de Lanlay scooped over from point-blank range.

    Nicklas Bendtner was also thwarted by Gordon, and it wasn’t long before Brendan Rodgers made a switch, sending on Jonny Hayes for Ntcham, with the Irishman taking over the central attacking position, freeing Rogic up to move into his favoured No.10 role.

    The tactical change offered Celtic fresh impetus, and Forrest was unfortunate to see his attempt flash wide of the far post after some nimble footwork in the box.  

    Rogic was becoming increasingly prominent and he finally found room to try his luck from distance, though he failed to find the target.

    At the other end, Bendtner was unable to connect with Jensen’s low delivery, before Armstrong saw his driven attempt parried by Andre Hansen, with the midfielder also curling a free-kick over.  

    As the clock ticked down, the Bhoys launched some desperate attacks in search of a late winner, but it all proved in vain.  

    CELTIC (4-1-2-3) Gordon; Lustig, Simunovic, Armstrong, Tierney; Brown; Ntcham (Hayes 63), Armstrong; Forrest (Benyu 81), Rogic, Sinclair
    Not Used: De Vries, Bitton, McGregor, Ralston, Kouassi

    ROSENBORG (4-3-3) Hansen; Hedenstad, Reginiussen (Bjordal 65), Skjelvik, Meling; Midtsjo, Konradsen, Jensen; Jevtovic (Rashani 79) Bendtner, de Lanlay (Vilhjalmsson 80)
    Not Used: Rasmussen, Gersbach, Ostbo, Lundemo

    Website Man of the Match: Kristoffer Ajer

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