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  • Dembele at the double as Celts ease past Alashkert

    Dembele at the double as Celts ease past Alashkert

    By: Tony Connelly on 18 Jul, 2018 22:01

  • UEFA Champions League
    First qualifying round, second leg
    Celtic Park, Glasgow
    Wednesday, July 18, 2018

    CELTIC…3
    (Dembele 7, 19, Forrest 34)

    ALASHKERT…0

    (Celtic win 6-0 on aggregate)

    CELTIC cruised past Alashkert to book their place in the second round of the UEFA Champions League qualification with an impressive 3-0 win despite being limited to 10 men for the majority of the game.

    Moussa Dembele fired Celtic ahead early in the first half and then netted a second from the penalty spot before James Forrest rounded off the first-half demolition. The 6-0 aggregate win means Celtic will now face Norwegian side Rosenborg in the second qualifying round, with the first leg taking place at Paradise next Wednesday,July 25 (KO: 7.45pm kick-off. Ticket information to follow).

    Brendan Rodgers named an unchanged starting XI to the side which put three past the Alashkert in the Armenian capital of Yerevan last week, with the French attacking pairing of Odsonne Edouard and Moussa Dembele starting up front together again.

    Celtic started brightly and looked intent on extending their lead early on as they piled the pressure on Alashkert with high-temp attacking football. Dembele tested the keeper early on and was denied with his initial effort but he found the back of the net moments later to kick-start Celtic’s goal rush.

    After spinning away from the defence on the edge of the box with the ball, he was swarmed by five Alashkert players but he showed great strength and determination to work some space and steer the ball beyond the keeper and into the bottom corner.

    Alashkert were handed a lifeline 10 minutes into the game when Jozo Simunovic was sent off for a high-footed challenge, which rules him out of Celtic’s first leg against Rosenborg next week.

    The dismissal did little to derail Celtic’s momentum, however, as the Hoops continued to dominate possession and controlled the game with quick flowing passing which resulted in more goalscoring opportunities.

    Edouard posed a threat for Armenian side’s defence with his pace and quick footwork, and he won a penalty for Celtic when he dribbled his way into the box and was brought down. Dembele stepped up and converted from the spot to double Celtic’s advantage.

    Edouard was lively in the final third and continued to torment the Armenian side. He almost grabbed a goal after Forrest slipped a well-timed pass into his path but his chipped effort from a tight angle was saved by the goalkeeper.

    The pair then switched roles to hand Celtic a third goal. Edouard turned provider as he initiated a Celtic counter-attack from the halfway line. He passed the ball into Forrest's path, and the Hoops winger hit a wonderfully-placed shot across goal from 18 yards which nestled in the back of the net.

    Celtic were more patient and controlled in the early part of the second half, although Kieran Tierney was denied a specatular goal early on when his powerful half-volley was tipped over the bar by the Alashkert keeper.

    Brendan Rodgers handed Ryan Christie and Scott Sinclair the attacking duties midway through the half as he brought off Edouard and Dembele, and the substitutes quickly found their footing in the game. Chrisite’s first chance stemmed from Kristoffer Ajer’s brilliant surging run from the heart of the Celtic defence. He glided past four opposition players before threading a great ball through for Chrisitie, but the keeper raced off his line to smother the danger.

    Sinclair presented a similar threat and tried to extend Celtic’s lead after he cut in from the left and fired a shot towards the far corner but it was narrowly off target.

    Chrisite came close again with another well-timed run which put him on through on goal. He was under pressure from an opposition defender but was still able to get a shot away which brought out a good save from Cancarevic.

    Brendan Rodgers’ side will now have to see off Rosenborg for the second season in a row in order to progress in their UEFA Champions League qualification campaign.

    CELTIC (4-2-3-1) Gordon; Hendry, Ajer, Simunovic, Tierney; Brown, Ntcham; Forrest (Johnston 75), Edouard (Sinclair 64), McGregor; Dembele (Christie 65)
    Not Used: Bain , Allan, Ralston, Kouassi

    ALASHKERT (4-5-1) Cancarevic; Voskanyan, Daghbashyan, Dashyan, Sekulic (Simonyan 64); Nenadovic (Manasyan 45), Yedigaryan, Reis De Jesus (Romero Jr 84), Yedigaryan, Grigoryan; Praznovsky
    Not Used: Avagyan, Zelijkovic, Stojkovic, Antonic

    Website Man of the Match: Moussa Dembele

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