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  • Celts secure well-earned point in Europa League opener with Rennes

    Celts secure well-earned point in Europa League opener with Rennes

    By: Newsroom Staff on 19 Sep, 2019 19:55

  • UEFA Europa League
    Matchday One, Group E
    Stade de la Route de Lorient
    Thursday, September 19, 2019

    RENNES… 1
    (Niang 37 Pen)

    CELTIC… 1
    (Christie 58 Pen)

    CELTIC kicked off their UEFA Europa League Group E campaign tonight (Thursday) with a well-contested 1-1 draw against Rennes at the Stade de la Route de Lorient in France.

    M’baye Niang broke the deadlock for the home side from the spot ahead of half-time, before Ryan Christie converted a penalty of his own for the Scottish champions not long after the interval.  

    Celtic started the game with attacking intent, as they enjoyed spells of concerted possession in the home side’s half. On four minutes, Ryan Christie burst through on goal, but the referee failed to play advantage from an earlier foul on Odsonne Edouard. A few minutes after that, some neat interplay between Christie and Callum McGregor saw the latter pulled down outside the box, however the Hoops struggled to make the most of the resulting set-piece.

    Ahead of the quarter-hour, chances fell to both sides as Edouard sent an acrobatic effort wide of the mark, and, moments later, Clement Garnier capped off a well-worked counter-attacked with an unwieldy header wide of the target.

    On 20 minutes, the first convincing opportunity of the game fell to Neil Lennon’s men, when a dangerous Boli Bolingoli cross from the left was dummied by Edouard, before narrowly missing the outstretched boot of Mohamed Elyounoussi across the face of goal.

    As the half wore on, the Scottish champions held possession, and likewise defended resolutely when required – Christopher Jullien stopping the Rennes frontline on a handful of occasions in quick succession.

    With half an hour gone, Raphinha carved the home side’s first big chance of the first period with a curled effort from range. Fraser Forster did well to get two strong hands behind the ball, and from there Christie cleared his side’s lines.

    Despite playing with confidence in all areas of the pitch, Celtic went behind from the spot on 37 minutes. M’baye Niang got the better of Kris Ajer to the right of goal, was brought down, and coolly converted the resulting set-piece, sending Forster the wrong way in the process.

    The Hoops went into the break trailing, perhaps unfairly, but returned with the same directness and positive free-flowing football they’d showcased for long spells of the first-half. Elhamed and James Forrest paired well on the right flank, while Christie was a constant thorn in the Rennes backline’s side.

    In the absence of VAR, Christie was denied a strong penalty claim on 51 minutes when he was hauled to the ground at the edge of the box. The resulting action replay showed that the officials got their decision wrong.

    Five minutes later, however, the referee confidently made the correct call when Forrest was brought down in the box. Christie stepped up, fired the ball to the keeper’s right and pulled the visitors level.

    Over the hour, Rennes continued to press Neil Lennon’s men, but it was Forrest who gleaned the next half-chance of the match. After carrying the ball from midfield, Christie played in a central-lying Edouard who flicked the ball to the 28-year-old winger, who in turn sent a powerful right-foot drive zipping over the bar.

    During the closing 15 minutes, the momentum of the game favoured the home side, but an inspired Jonny Hayes – on a 69th minute substitute for the injured Bolingoli – dealt with threat after threat with composure and levelheadedness.   

    On for Edouard with six minutes of normal time remaining, Bayo was cautioned for persistent fouling with just one minute to go. Captain Da Silva was forced to retire early and, having used all of their substitutes, Rennes saw out the game with 10 men. Minutes later, Bayo was then shown a second yellow card after attacking a spilled shot by Mendy, and Celtic too finished the match without a full compliment.

    All told, a well-earned point on the road for Neil Lennon’s men, and a confident and capable start to their UEFA Europa League Group E campaign.   

    RENNES: Mendy, Da Silva, Raphinha, Grenier, Niang, Bourigeaud, Morel, Tait (Del Castillo 72), Gnagnon, Traore (Camavinga 72), Martin (Siebatcheu 88)
    Subs not used: Salin, Siliki, Hunou, Gelin

    CELTIC: Forster, Elhamed, Ajer, Jullien, Bolingoli (Hayes 69), Brown, McGregor, Forrest, Christie, Elyounoussi (Ntcham 56) Edouard (Bayo 84)
    Subs not used: Gordon, Bauer, Morgan, Rogic

    Website Man of the Match: Ryan Christie

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