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  • Impressive Champions League win for stylish Celts in Belgium

    Impressive Champions League win for stylish Celts in Belgium

    By: Tony Connelly on 27 Sep, 2017 22:05

  • UEFA Champions League
    Group B, Matchday Two
    Constant Vanden Stockstadion, Belgium 
    Wednesday, September 27, 2017

    ANDERLECHT…0

    CELTIC…3
    (Griffiths 37, Roberts 49, Sinclair 90)

    CELTIC produced a magical European night in Brussels with a dominant performance over Anderlecht, beating the Belgian champions 3-0 to take all three points thanks to goals from Leigh Griffiths, Patrick Roberts and Scott Sinclair.

    Griffiths opened the scoring late in the first-half before Roberts doubled Celtic’s lead just four minutes into the second-half. And Sinclair put the seal on a superb performance with a last-minute goal.

    The hosts could not cope with Celtic’s free-flowing, attacking football and struggled to contain threats from all areas of the pitch, and throughout the second-half, Brendan Rodgers’ side carved open their opponents, always looking likely to extend their lead.

    Olivier Ntcham returned to the Celtic starting XI in the only change to the team that dominated Saturday’s Glasgow derby at Ibrox. The Frenchman, who scored in his last European away match for the Scottish treble-winners against FC Astana, replaced Stuart Armstrong in central midfield alongside captain Scott Brown.

    After an opening half-hour or so, when Celtic enjoyed controlled possession, while the home side were content to sit in defensively, it was Ntcham who helped create the opening goal. His precise pass through the inside-left channel found the overlapping Kieran Tierney, and his low cross to the far post was finished superbly by Leigh Griffiths.

    Anderlecht responded immediately, with their captain, Sofiane Hanni hitting a shot from the edge of the box which Craig Gordon saved comfortably. The home side went in search of an equaliser at the start of the second-half but were undone by Celtic’s high-pressing game.

    Patrick Roberts dispossessed Olivier Deschacht on the edge of his area, and then, cutting on to his left foot, fired in a shot which took a deflection off substitute Serigne Mbodji and ended up in the net to make it 2-0 for the Hoops.

    From that point on, Brendan Rodgers’ side controlled the game, showing a maturity in possession that has become a hallmark of the side.

    They had further chances to score, through Roberts, Griffiths and McGregor, while the Celtic defence dealt comfortably with any attacking threat from the home side. And Craig Gordon produced one superb save when a shot was fired on target, tipping the ball over the bar.

    Celtic got further reward for a dominant display in the final minute when Ntcham intercepted a forward pass and threaded the ball through to Scott Sinclair, who surged into the box before finishing with aplomb.

    The impressive victory – only Celtic’s second ever away win in the group stages of the UEFA Champions League – puts Brendan Rodgers’ side in a strong position in Group B ahead of a vital double-header against Bayern Munich as they aim to secure European football after Christmas.

    CELTIC (4-3-2-1) Gordon; Lustig, Simunovic, Boyata, Tierney; Brown (Bitton 69), Ntcham, Rogic (McGregor 64); Sinclair, Roberts (Forrest 77); Griffiths.
    Not Used: De Vries, Hayes, Armstrong, Dembele

    ANDERLECHT (5-2-3) Boeckx; Chipciu, Spajic (Mbodji 43) Dendoncker, Deschacht (Stanciu 56), Appiah; Hanni, Gerkens, Trebel, Onyekuru, Teodorczyk.
    Not Used: Sels, Bruno, Beric, Sowah, Harbaoui

    Website Man of the Match: Dedryck Boyata

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