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  • Euro disappointment for Celts in capital

    Euro disappointment for Celts in capital

    By: Mark Henderson on 06 Aug, 2014 21:43

  • UEFA Champions League third qualifying round second leg
    BT Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh
    Wednesday, August 6, 2014

    CELTIC...0

    LEGIA WARSAW...2
    (Zyro 36, Kucharczyk 61)

    CELTIC’S UEFA Champions League dreams are over for this season after a 2-0 loss to Legia Warsaw at the BT Murrayfield Stadium consigned them to a comprehensive aggregate defeat in the third qualifying round.

    Trailing 4-1 from the first-leg in Poland, Ronny Deila’s men always faced an uphill task to turn the tie around and goals in either half from Michal Zyro and Michal Kucharczyk put paid to their hopes.

    However, it doesn’t spell an end to the Hoops’ European adventure for the campaign as they go into Friday’s Europa League draw at the play-off stage

    The manager had made three changes to the team who started in Poland, with Emilio Izaguirre, Nir Bitton and Anthony Stokes coming into the side at the expense of the suspended Efe Ambrose, Jo Inge Berget and Teemu Pukki.

    Backed by a boisterous home support, the Hoops started at a high tempo, moving the ball around at pace and closing down their opponents at the earliest opportunity.

    But the visitors repelled the Scottish champions’ early forward raids and then highlighted their own threat on the counter-attack as Ivica Vrdolljak and Lukasz Broz found the target with shots, though Fraser Forster saved both with ease.

    Celtic’s most likely route to profit in the opening exchanges looked to be down the right flank as Callum McGregor and Adam Matthews linked up to good effect on several occasions.

    Matthews hit the byline but saw his cutback smothered by Dusan Kuciak, while a lovely piece of skill from McGregor saw him dance away from his marker and then set up Charlie Mulgrew on the edge of the box. But the stand-in skipper couldn’t find a way past Kuciak with his curling effort.  

    McGregor was continuing his fine early season form and he was next to threaten, firing over after Izaguirre’s cross had rolled invitingly into his path.

    Celtic won a succession of corners around the half-hour mark as they started to build some momentum but they couldn’t capitalise as the Polish outfit defended resolutely.

    And their task became even more daunting in the 36th minute as Henning Berg’s side opened the scoring. From a long ball over the top, the speedy Michal Zyro won a race with Izaguirre and clinically found the far corner.

    As Ronny Deila’s men attempted to mount a swift response, Virgil van Dijk headed wide from Kris Commons’ set-piece, but as the players went in at the break they knew they had it all to do in the second half.

    Five minutes after the restart, Commons flighted in a free-kick that was only partially cleared. The same player struck the rebound but he couldn’t generate sufficient power on the shot.

    Stokes then forced a diving save from Kuciak after cutting inside and Commons saw another attempt dribble past the far post.

    But then the Hoops were dealt a hammer blow as Kucharczyk doubled Legia’s lead on the night to effectively kill off the tie, the winger rounding Forster and finding the net.

    A frustrated Celtic were now staring at the exit door, but they continued to look for a reply, with a flurry of shots blocked from distance, including one from Stefan Johnasen.

    McGregor gamely persevered as he tried his luck twice from distance, and substitute James Forrest saw a powerful drive blocked by Kuciak but there would be no reward for the Hoops on a disappointing night in the capital.

     CELTIC (4-4-1-1) Forster; Matthews, Lustig (Griffiths 57), van Dijk, Izaguirre; McGregor, Bitton, Mulgrew, Johansen; Commons (Forrest 70; Stokes (Pukki 70)
    Not Used: Zaluska, Henderson, Kayal, Berget

    EGIA WARSAW (4-2-3-1) Kuciak; Broz, Astiz, Rzeziniczak, Brzski;  Jodlowiec, Vrodoljak; Zyro (Bereszynski 86) Duda (Pinto 86), Kucharczyk (Kosecki 74); Radovic
    Not Used: Kalocha, Junior, Saganowski, Sa

    Website Man of the Match: Callum McGregor

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