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  • Young Celts lose out in tight UEFA Youth League opener

    Young Celts lose out in tight UEFA Youth League opener

    By: Mathew Newton on 12 Sep, 2017 19:16

  • CELTIC were narrowly defeated by Paris Saint-Germain in an entertaining UEFA Youth League opener at Dumbarton.

    Tommy McIntyre’s young Hoops side twice led but were made to pay for a missed penalty in the second-half that would have put them 3-1 ahead with half-an-hour to play.

    Instead, it was the French side who capitalised, scoring two goals in six minutes to snatch victory.

    Regan Hendry had converted a spot-kick in the first half to open the scoring, with Jack Aitchison giving the hosts a one-goal advantage once again after the break following Meterhan Guclu equalising for the visitors.

    Virgiliu Postolachi levelled the tie again for the Parisian side beforeTimothy Weah, son of football legend George, grabbed the winner for PSG in the 67th minute.

    Celtic captain Hendry tested Sebastien Cibois early on with a low free-kick from the edge of the box, forcing a strong save from the PSG goalkeeper in the third minute and the skipper then gave the home side the lead on 13 minutes. The midfielder calmly slotted the ball into the bottom corner from a penalty after Aitchison was brought down in the area by Moussa Sissako.

    Aitchison nearly doubled the Celts’ advantage shortly after. The 17-year-old striker almost latched on to Ewan Henderson’s inviting low cross but could not get a vital touch.

    The young Hoops dominated the opening exchanges, with Hendry registering a number of shots on target on top of his opening goal as Mikey Johnston and Henderson both caused problems with some threatening runs, while Mark Hill was denied by a good save from Cibois with a fierce free-kick whipped in from the left edge of the penalty area.

    Henderson had a great chance to claim a second Celtic goal before the half-hour mark. The attacking midfielder elected to shoot when he had Johnston in space in the area. His shot was easy for the PSG stopper to gather.

    The visitor’s first real chance came in the 36th minute as Weah drove into the box and played the ball across to Guclu. The striker tried a back-heeled effort but Mullen did well to get down and collect the shot.

    Guclu didn’t have to wait long to get his name on the score sheet, though, as his header found its way into Mullen’s net off the post to level the scores.

    Guclu threatened again before half-time, meeting a corner at the front post and diverting his half-volley just wide of the Celtic goal.

    Celtic were close to reclaiming the lead quickly after the restart. Aitchison played the ball into the path of Hendry and his shot deflected off a defender and was saved by the legs of Cibois in the PSG goal.

    Aitchison was a constant thorn in the side for PSG with his direct running. Having created a chance for Henderson just before, the striker was on hand to complete a superb passing move with a cool finish to put the Celts back in front.

    Just minutes later, Aitchison won another penalty for Celtic. This time, Hendry couldn’t convert and as Cibois’ save fell to Henderson, he cannoned the rebound off the upright.

    It was to prove costly for the Hoops, with Postolachi seizing on a defensive error to score just moments after coming on to the pitch.

    The Celts were dealt another sucker-punch on 67 minutes. With Aitchison having just hit the PSG crossbar, the away side went up the other end of the pitch and Weah was there to put them ahead for the first time in the game.

    Wallace Duffy thought he’d got an equaliser for Celtic on 72 minutes but Robbie Deas was adjudged to be in an offside position when he nodded the ball back to the full-back.

    Celtic (4-2-3-1): Mullen; Duffy (Savoury 76), Welsh, Deas, Miller (Bell 90+1); Hill, McInroy; Hendry (c), E Henderson, Johnston; Aitchison.

    Subs not used: Willison, Watson, Caffrey, Diver, Potter.

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