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  • Disappointment for Celts in Warsaw

    Disappointment for Celts in Warsaw

    By: Martin Dalziel in Poland on 30 Jul, 2014 21:38

  • UEFA Champions League third qualifying round

    Pepsi Arena, Warsaw, Poland

    Wednesday July 30, 2014

     

    LEGIA WARSAW...4

    Radovic 9, 35, Zyro 83, Kosecki 90

     

    CELTIC..1

    McGregor 7

     

    CELTIC have it all to do in their UEFA Champions League third qualifying round after losing 4-1 to Legia Warsaw on a humid night in Poland.

    The Hoops opened the scoring on seven minutes through Callum McGregor but were pegged back instantly by Miroslav Radovic on nine minutes.

    Another strike in the first half from the Polish champions, followed by another two in late in the second half, sandwiched between two penalty misses for the hosts, sealed the spoils for the hosts, leaving Celtic with a mountain to climb in Edinburgh.

    McGregor’s early strike for Celtic was well-deserved and well-taken. The winger cut inside a defender onto his favoured left foot and curled the ball past Dusan Kuciak to give the Bhoys an early lead.

    The old adage that teams are most vulnerable when they have just scored was proven to be true as Legia broke up the pitch almost from the restart and scored an equaliser through their star man Radovic.

    His low shot at Forster’s near post evaded the big ‘keeper and the scores were level. Niggling fouls from the Polish champions punctuated play after the early goals but Celtic continued to build through patient passing.

    Space then opened up for Commons 30 yards out after good work from Stefan Johansen. The Player of the Year dropped his left shoulder and sent Astiz the wrong way but his right-footed shot went just over the bar.

    Celtic won a corner after Lustig’s attempted cross was put out of play, shortly after. Commons’ ball to the back post was flicked away by Kuciak in the Legia goal but Berget returned the ball into the box and his cross was cleared.

    The Hoops carved out another opening on 34 minutes after a clever flick from Commons set Pukki running towards the Legia box. He controlled the bobbling ball well but was eventually muscled off it as he let his shot go and the chance went wide.

    Celtic were made to pay for the missed opportunity moments later when Radovic doubled his tally and his team’s lead. A low ball across the Celtic six yard box was only half cleared by Efe Ambrose and the Serbian dangerman was on hand to dispatch the ball into the net, despite Lustig’s efforts on the line.

    McGregor almost pulled his side back into the game with a low shot from just outside the box but his curling effort was saved at the far post by Kuciak.

    Celtic were then left a man down after the referee adjudged Ambrose to have fouled Radovic on the 18-yard-line. The Nigerian centre-back had lunged in on the Legia playmaker in a last ditch bid to halt his run but was shown red for the tackle as the ref saw him as the last man.

    Celtic defended the free kick well and the half time whistle was blown shortly after. Teemu Pukki made way for Beram Kayal at half time as Celtic looked to shore up their depleted side following the sending off while Legia returned to the pitch unchanged.

    Commons was pushed up front as Celtic went 4-4-1 in a bid to get back into the game. He soon won a corner and flighted the ball in which led to panic in the Legia box but the home side managed to clear the ball.

    Legia almost added to their lead on 53 minutes after Zyro carved out space for himself in the Celtic box. His pass found Radovic but Forster did well to stick out an arm and save his shot well.

    The home side were offered another chance on 57mins when the ref blew for a Mulgrew foul in the box. Legia were awarded the penalty but Vdoljak sent the spot kick wide to Forster’s left.

    Celtic made another change on the hour mark following the penalty drama and a break in play. Debutant Berget made way for Izaguirre and Matthews was pushed out to the right wing.

    The man advantage for Legia made it difficult for Celtic to retain possession but the endeavour was still there from the men in green.

    McGregor did well to win a throw in down the left but he was flagged offside. The Hoops then pressed for the equaliser through a succession of set pieces.

    A foul on Izaguirre started the section of play after Commons’ cross from the free kick was cleared for a corner. The ball in was played clear for another corner which was this time played through Johansen, McGregor and then Izaguirre on the edge of the box.

    The Honduran left-back’s cross found Commons in the box but he was flagged offside and the move broke down.

    A break in play then allowed both teams to make changes. Griffiths replaced Commons and Legia made their own swap with Kosecki coming on for Kucharczyk.

    Good skill from Radovic on the Celtic left then won a corner for Legia. Izaguirre scrambled clear from the resultant melee but the danger remained as Legia pressed for another.

    Legia added to their lead seven minutes from full time after a period of pressure on the Hoops defence. The home side won a corner and the ball in from Radovic found Zyro free in the six-yard box.

    His flicked header went past Forster and put Legia 3-1 up. The home side were then awarded another penalty minutes later when Mulgrew was booked for a seemingly innocuous challenge in the box on Rzezniczak.

    Vdoljak stepped up again and sent his shot to Forster’s left but the record-breaking keeper got down well to save the spot-kick.

    However, the Englishman had to pick the ball out of his net again as the clock ticked down. A quick break caught Celtic exposed and a cross into the box found Kosecki who scored calmly past Forster to make it 4-1 and leave the Scottish champions with an uphill task to progress in the tie.

    CELTIC (4-2-3-1) Forster, Matthews, Ambrose (red card), van Dijk, Lustig, Johansen, Mulgrew (C), Commons (Griffiths 74), Berget (Izaguirre 60), McGregor, Pukki (Kayal 45)

    Not Used: Zaluska, Bitton, Stokes, Boerrigter 

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