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  • Goal hero Griffiths secures Europa league win against Rosenborg

    Goal hero Griffiths secures Europa league win against Rosenborg

    By: Tony Connelly on 20 Sep, 2018 21:57

  • Europa League
    Celtic Park, Glasgow
    Thursday, September 20, 2018

    (Griffiths 87)


    LEIGH Griffiths emerged as Celtic’s savour to secure a well-deserved win against Rosenborg in the opening game of the Europa League group stages. The Hoops were by far the more dominant side throughout but Rosenborg’s defensive set-up made for a difficult night for the Scottish champions.

    Griffiths came on in the second half and broke the deadlock late in the game with his 101st Celtic goal.

    Brendan Rodgers made just one change to the starting XI that was held to a goalless draw against St Mirren last Friday (September 14) with Mikael Lustig replacing Kristoffer Ajer, who had still not fully recovered from an illness.

    Celtic have been a familiar foe for the Norwegian champions who have had their Champions League ambitions dashed by the Hoops for the past two seasons.

    Rosenborg looked determined to make amends for that torment and they started the game brightly.  They issued a warning sign early on when a lofted ball over the top of the Hoops defence saw Alexander Soderlund bearing down on goal but Craig Gordon rushed off his line to punch clear.

    It didn’t take long for Celtic to settle into their rhythm however and the visitors soon found themselves under pressure which only increased as the half progressed.

    Callum McGregor was behind the first opening after Olivier Ntcham threaded a good pass through to the midfielder inside the Rosenborg box but he was crowded out and could not find the space to get a shot off.

    Another promising chance opened up shortly afterwards when Odsonne Edouard, who put two past Andre Hansen at Celtic Park back in July, was nearly through on goal. Scott Brown did well to win the ball back in midfield before quickly releasing a pass through to Edouard but the French striker was half a yard off-side.

    With Celtic enjoying more of the possession Rosenborg looked to counter-attack using the pace of Issam Jebali. His speed and directness caused problems for Lustig and Celtic Park was momentarily frozen with fear when the Tunisian forward went down inside the box under a challenge from the Swede only for the referee to wave away the penalty claim.

    Celtic were significantly the busier of the two sides in attack and their dominance became more apparent as they penetrated the Rosenborg defence with more frequency.

    Edouard lashed a good opportunity over the crossbar after Tom Rogic had done so well to break away with the ball and slip a good pass into the path of the 21-year-old striker inside the penalty area.

    The majority of Celtic’s best chances came through Kieran Tierney down the left. He tormented Vegar Hedenstad with his acceleration and his delivery into the box was excellent.

    On one occasion he whipped a fantastic pass across the face of goal which was agonisingly close to Rogic and McGregor but neither of the midfielders were able to make contact with it.

    Late on in the first half he picked out Rogic with a cross which the Australian controlled with his chest before taking aim at goal with a volley. His initial shot was blocked and Hansen denied his follow-up with an excellent save. That was pushed only so far as Edouard who quickly had a go from a tight angle but the keeper was quick to his feet and made another fine save to keep side level.  

    Rogic gave Rosenborg more problems at the onset on the second half when he snatched the ball on the halfway line which opened up a two-versus-two scenario. Rogic drove for goal and worked enough space on the edge of the area to get a shot off but his right-footed effort was straight at the keeper.  

    Substitutes Scott Sinclair and Mikey Johnston immediately asserted themselves into the game upon their introduction and almost opened the scoring. Johnston showed good control and pace out on the right to create a yard of space before swinging a cross into Sinclair who tried to steer the ball into the top corner with a side-footed volley but he dragged his effort wide of the mark.

    Rosenborg seemed content to sit deep and try to catch Celtic on the counter attack but they produced little in the way of clear-cut goal scoring opportunities. Instead Celtic had to be patient in their build-up play as they searched for an opening in the Nordic side’s defence.

    Tierney continued to weigh in with a valuable contribution for his side and create a couple of good chances in the second half. One of his low driven crosses was cut out at the near post but he opened up the opposition defence moments later when he cut a pass back across goal form the byline for Johnston which the young winger scooped over the crossbar.

    As time dwindled down it looked as if Celtic would be held to draw but Griffiths grabbed the well-deserved goal right at the death.

    Scott Brown played a long diagonal ball towards the edge of the box which Dedryck Boyata headed down into the path of Griffiths. The Hoops forward met the ball on the bounce and nodded it past the Rosenborg keeper and securing Celtic a well-deserved three points. 


    CELTIC (4-2-3-1) Gordon; Lustig, Boyata, Benkovic, Tierney; Brown, Ntcham; Rogic (Sinclair 57), Forrest (Johnston 57), McGregor; Edouard (Griffiths 75)
    Not Used: Bain, Hendry, Christie, Mulumbu

    ROSENBORG (4-3-3) Hansen; Hedenstad, Hovland, Reginiussen, Meling; Konradsen (Lundemo 45) Jansen, Denic; De Lanlay (Trondsen 68), Soderlund (Levi 77), Jebali
    Not Used: Ostbo, Vilhjalmsson, Gersbach, Serbecic

    Website Man of the Match: Kieran Tierney



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