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  • Celts sparkle at BT Murrayfield

    Celts sparkle at BT Murrayfield

    By: Martin Dalziel on 22 Jul, 2014 21:38

  • UEFA Champions League second round qualifier

    BT Murrayfield, Edinburgh, Scotland

    Tuesday, July 22, 2014


    Van Dijk 13, 20 Pukki 27, 71



    CELTIC strolled confidently into the next round of the UEFA Champions League qualifiers with a resounding 4-0 (5-0 on aggregate) victory over KR Reykjavik at BT Murrayfield in Edinburgh tonight.

    The Hoops controlled the game from the first whistle and took the lead early through Virgil van Dijk, who soon added another before Teemu Pukki bagged a brace for himself.

    Within the first five minutes the Hoops had a great chance to take the lead when Pukki beat the offside trap at the right side of the box and raced in on goal.

    Magnusson, so impressive for the Icelandic champions in the first leg, saved his team’s blushes though and stood up well to the Finn’s shot. Leigh Griffiths followed up the save and forced the KR keeper into another early block, this time leading to a corner.

    The vocal Celtic support behind Kris Commons willed the ball in but his cross led to nothing and KR retained possession.

    Celtic’s aim was clear and the pressure continued creating the opening goal after winning another corner on 12 minutes.

    Commons floated the ball to the back post and found Mulgrew, whose header back across goal found van Dijk who cushioned the ball over the line from two yards out to make it 1-0.

    The Icelandic champions tried to respond immediately but a headed effort from Kjartan Finnbogasson went over and led to the former Celtic player writhing on the ground in agony with an shoulder injury. Play stopped and the teams regrouped after a frantic start.

    KR threatened the Celtic goal quickly after the game restarted with a break down the right from their main danger man, Gary Martin. His pass found Saversson but the striker’s low shot hit the side netting.

    Celtic responded immediately by winning another corner on 20 minutes. Commons once again delivered and once again found Mulgrew, but his pass this time fell to Lustig at the back post. He headed it back across goal and van Dijk was on hand again to nod the ball home again for the Scottish Champions.

    And it wasn’t long before Celtic had another, this time through Teemu Pukki. Izaguirre’s ball to McGregor down the left flank opened up play for the Hoops and his first time ball into the box found the Finn who slotted calmly past Magnusson in the KR goal to make it 3-0 on 27 minutes.

    Celtic were controlling the game the play and had KR pinned in their own half, forcing them into long balls over the top or misplaced passes.

    The Hoops went close to adding to their lead through Pukki who collected a clever through ball from Johansen in midfield. He ran at the KR defence again before lashing a right-footed shot past the far post.

    The referee added only one minute at the end of the half but it was still time enough for Celtic to threaten the KR goal mouth again but Griffith’s flicked ball from the right side of the box escaped the Celtic attack and drifted wide to end the half.

    The Hoops started the second half brightly, forcing KR to camp out on their 18-yard-line.

    Another good save from Magnusson led to a quickly-taken Celtic corner which Mulgrew rose well to meet but his pass never found Pukki.

    The visitors made their first change on 55mins, bringing Zato-Arouna on for Saversson in a bid to get back into the game but Celtic looked the more likely to threaten again with Commons testing Magnusson from long-range.

    The home side made a double substitution shortly after, with Beram Kayal and Adam Matthews coming on for Griffiths and Izaguirre respectively on the hour mark.

    Commons made Magnusson work again with another fine shot from the edge of the box just after the change and the save left the KR keeper struggling. He was soon on his feet to defend the corner, though, and collected well from Commons’ set-piece.

    Good work from Pukki on the halfway line to win the ball then led to another swift attack down the inside right as the Finn raced down on goal again. He played a ball across the box to Commons but the pass was intercepted on the edge of the box and move broke down.

    The home of Scottish rugby was soon rocking again, though, after a slip from Magnusson outside his box allowed Pukki to round the stranded keeper and power home a rasping finish to make it 4-0.

    He was then substituted for youngster Liam Henderson, taking a well-earned ovation from the Celtic support.

    KR made another change with Balbi coming off for Johnsson before Commons varied his attempts to get on the score sheet with an acrobatic volley in the box but his shot sailed over the bar.

    Celtic continued to press as the game drew to a close, with Commons sitting up front but the Player of the Year couldn’t find the net despite his best efforts.

    The referee added three minutes injury-time which gave KR a chance in the dying second but Forster gathered well from the Icelandic side’s captain before the referee blew for the final whistle.

    CELTIC (4-2-3-1) Forster; Lustig, Ambrose, van Dijk, Izaguirre (Matthews); Johansen, Mulgrew; Griffiths (Kayal), Commons, McGregor; Pukki (Henderson)

    Subs: Zaluska, Bitton, Boerrigter, Watt.

    KR Reykjavik: Magnusson; Sigurdsson, Hauksson, Balbi; Gunnarsson; Martin, B. Siggurdsson, Finnbogason; Atlason; Saversson, Josepsson

    Website man of the match: Teemu Pukki

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