21 July 2012
Amsterdam ArenA, Amsterdam
(De Jong 13, Sigthorsson 21, Serero 27, Blind pen 66)
CELTIC, in their new black away strip, slumped to a disappointing 4-0 defeat to Ajax in the Amsterdam ArenA in their final away friendly before the new season kicks-off.
The Hoops were reduced to 10 men midway through the second-half when Charlie Mulgrew handled the ball on the line and that allowed Ajax to wrap up the victory from the penalty spot.
Siem De Jong scored a screamer after just 13 minutes before Kolbeinn Sigthorsson and Thulani Serero extended the home side´s lead before the half hour mark. Daley Blind converted the spot kick and despite a string of attacking substitutes late on, Celtic couldn’t find a consolation goal.
Adam Matthews and Emilio Izaguirre had come into the side for their first appearances of pre-season while Tuesday´s goalscorers, Anthony Stokes and Gary Hooper, started the match up front together.
The game started fairly evenly but before either side had a chance to dominate Ajax took the lead. And what a stunning strike it was too, with De Jong slamming home a long range drive into Fraser Forster´s top corner. It was an unstoppable effort from 30-yards out.
Ajax grew in strength after taking the lead and two minutes later Thomas Rogne had to header clear a dangerous cross into the box.
On 21 minutes Celtic´s defence went to sleep and gifted Ajax their second goal of the evening. Viktor Fischer managed to get the better of the backline and after bringing Forster off his line he sent the ball into the box where Sigthorsson tapped it into the open net.
And it was to go from bad to worse, with Celtic conceding another six minutes later. It came seconds after De Jong had swung a free-kick inches past the upright and this time Serero ran in on goal and slotted it through Forster´s legs for number three.
Hooper and James Forrest both went down inside the box no penalties were awarded and Celtic went into the break three goals down.
The Hoops tried to play positive, attacking football at the start of the second half, and searched for their first goal in the shape of a free-kick on 53 minutes. Stokes couldn’t get it over the wall though and seconds later Joe Ledley was ruled offside.
Victor Wanyama attempted a low drive from the edge of the box, but it was blocked six yards from the target.
Just as Celtic were beginning to build up some momentum, though, they were reduced to 10 men and conceded another goal. Mulgrew was dismissed for touching the ball on the line as he blocked a shot, and Blind converted the resulting penalty kick to make it 4-0.
Celtic made a number of changes in the second-half with three attacking players coming on after the fourth goal. Daryl Murphy, Mo Bangura and Kris Commons were all introduced to the action but despite the Irishman having a chance in the closing minutes, Celtic couldn’t find a strike to close the match.
The Hoops will now return to Scotland where they will face Norwich City at home on Tuesday, July 24.
AJAX (4-4-2): Vermeer; Van Rhijn, Alderweireld, Blind, Dijks; De Jong, Serero, Anita, Fischer; Lukoki, Sigthorsson
Subs used: Cillessen, Ebecilio, Klassen, Schone, Ozbiliz, Koppers, Ligeon, Veltman, Denswil
CELTIC (3-4-1-2): Forster; Rogne (K. Wilson 63), Wanyama, Mulgrew; Matthews (Lustig 63), Brown, Forrest (Commons 77), Ledley, Izaguirre (F. Twardzik 63); Stokes (Bangura 77), Hooper (Murphy 77)
Subs not used: Zaluska, McGeouch