CelticFC

Sign for Celtic
Sign For Celtic Banner
New Balance Logo
Dafabet Logo Magners Logo
Sign For Celtic Banner
  • Back
  • Show All
  • First Team
  • Reserve Squad
  • Academy
  • Women's Team
  • Commercial
  • Match Reports
  • Tickets
  • View
Betfred FinalNB CloverNB CruzCTV Athens awaySign For Celtic
  • Deadly Dembele strikes to seal win over Sparta Prague

    Deadly Dembele strikes to seal win over Sparta Prague

    By: Tony Connelly in Austria on 03 Jul, 2018 19:08

  • Pre-season friendly
    Stallinger Financial Planning Arena, Rohrbach
    Tuesday, July 3, 2018

    CELTIC…1
    (Dembele 18)

    SPARTA PRAGUE…0

    MOUSSA Dembele marked his return to action with the winning goal as Celtic defeated Sparta Prague 1-0 in their final pre-season friendly in Austria.

    The French forward fired the Hoops ahead early in the first half with a fine goal which illustrated his strength and speed.

    Brendan Rodgers had opted to leave the 21-year-old out of Celtic’s three other games in Austria following his involvement with the French under-21 side during the summer break.

    But Dembele looked at his best upon starting the game and was unfortunate not to have gone into half-time with a hat-trick.

    Celtic started the game with a good tempo, particularly down the flanks with James Forrest troubling the Cezch side with his pace and willingness to run at the defence.

    Kieran Tierney caused similar problems down the left wing and came close to firing Celtic in front inside 10 minutes with a powerful left-footed effort that forced a good save from the Sparta Prague keeper.

    He tested the keeper again shortly afterwards but his shot flashed just wide of the far post.

    Celtic maintained their grasp on the game in the early stages with plenty of purposeful attacking play.

    The opposition finally caved in just before the midway point of the half when Forrest played a fantastic pass from deep inside Celtic’s half, splitting the Sparta defence and allowing Dembele to collect in the final third.

    He shrugged off a challenge from the defender before driving for goal and smashing the ball beyond the keeper at the near post.

    Craig Gordon had little to do in the first half thanks to some good defending from Celtic which prevented any real goalscoring opportunities, with the exception of a dangerous cross into the Celtic box which Scott Brown headed away.

    Dembele had two further opportunities in the first half. The first was again supplied from Forrest, who slipped a pass through to the Celtic striker. Dembele timed his run well to leave the defence helpless but his chipped effort over the keeper went narrowly wide of the goal.  

    Late in the first half he ran in behind the defence to meet Callum McGregor’s pass and was through on goal but the keeper positioned himself well and pushed clear the shot which was otherwise heading for the top corner.

    It would be his final involvement in the game as he was replaced by Ewan Henderson for the start of the second half.

    Forrest looked excellent throughout the second half and the Sparta defence resorted to fouling the Hoops winger having been time and time again exposed by his pace and attacking play down the wing.

    Henderson, as he had done in his other two Celtic pre-season appearances, looked comfortable in the attacking midfield position and linked up well with Callum McGregor on more than one occasion.

    The pair crafted a neat passage of play on the edge of the box to set Odsonne Edouard up with an opportunity. The young French forward managed to get a shot off from the edge of the box but it was too close to the keeper who collected comfortably.

    Sparta Prague grew into the game and Gordon was called into action midway through the half to ensure Celtic maintained their lead.

    Sparta midfielder Srdan Plavsic fired a fantastic shot from the edge of the box which Gordon pushed clear of his goal. Benjamin Tetteh darted in looking to knock the ball over the line only to be denied by Celtic's No.1, who sprung up and saved the second attempt at his near post. 

    Sparta saw more of the ball in the second half but Celtic still dominated the bulk of possession and left the Cezch side looking frustrated, limiting them to shooting from distance.

    Celtic had chances to put the game to bed but McGregor’s shot from the edge of the penalty area was off target and Henderson’s free-kick was a yard too high.

    Brendan Rodgers’ side now depart Austria have won three and lost one of the four games contested. With the pre-season training under their belt and four games played, Celtic are now well prepared for Shamrock Rovers on Saturday (July 7) in Dublin.

    That will be their final friendly fixture before the team fly out to Armenia to face Alashkert in of the UEFA Champions League first qualifying round.

    CELTIC (3-4-1-2) Gordon (Hazard 64) Simunovic, Hendry, Ajer; Tierney, Forrest, Brown, Ntcham (R.Hendry 64), McGregor, Forrest; Edouard (McInroy 79), Dembele (Henderson 45)

    SPARTA PRAGUE (4-4-1-1) Nita; Stetina, Radakovic, Tetteh, Kanga, Chipciu, Plavsic, Stanciu, Sural, Kulhanek, Civic

    Website Man of the Match: Moussa Dembele

    News

    Most Read

    • Celtic receive European award for promoting access and inclusion

      Celtic receive European award for promoting access and inclusion

    • Celtic x NB Cruz – green & white available to pre-order now

      Celtic x NB Cruz – green & white available to pre-order now

    • Limited Betfred League Cup final tickets available

      Limited Betfred League Cup final tickets available

    • World champions sign for Celtic

      World champions sign for Celtic

    • Celtic contribute £165million boost to Scottish economy every year

      Celtic contribute £165million boost to Scottish economy every year