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  • Commons fires Celtic to victory over Dinamo

    Commons fires Celtic to victory over Dinamo

    By: Mark Henderson on 02 Oct, 2014 22:13

  • UEFA Europa League

    Celtic Park, Glasgow

    Thursday, October 2, 2014

    CELTIC...1

    (Commons 6)

    DINAMO ZAGREB...0

    KRIS Commons’ early strike earned Celtic a priceless three points against Dinamo Zagreb to boost their hopes of progressing to the UEFA Europa League knockout stages.

    Last season’s Player of the Year swept home in the sixth minute after a lovely piece of interplay between him and Anthony Stokes cut open the visitors.

    The Hoops had to survive some heavy pressure in the second half but, helped by several heroic saves from Craig Gordon, they held firm to move joint top of the group after two games.   

    Commons, Jason Denayer and Aleksandar Tonev were all restored to the starting XI following the 2-1 win over St Mirren last weekend.  Eoghan O’Connell, Callum McGregor and the ineligible John Guidetti dropped out.

    After a cagey opening five minutes, Celtic made the perfect start as Commons fired them ahead following an incisive passing move. Stefan Johansen and Emilio Izaguirre were involved initially, before Commons collected a return pass from Stokes and lashed a shot beyond Eduardo.  

    Urged on by a jubilant home support, the Hoops immediately went in search of a second as Tonev shot wide and Izaguirre embarked on a number of enterprising forays down the left.

    Zoran Mamic’s side failed to threaten until the 19th minute, when Wilson Eduardo headed over unmarked from Ivo Pinto’s cross from the right.

    However, the Hoops were still enjoying the bulk of possession, patiently probing for further openings, with Commons always a threat through his clever movement and inventive play.

    Celtic were looking comfortable but a speculative effort from Wilson Eduardo almost wiped out their advantage, the striker’s ferocious shot from 25 yards cannoning off the bar.

    At the other end, a nervy looking Eduardo nearly gifted Celtic a second. After being closed down by several Hoops players, he passed straight to Commons inside the six-yard box. He couldn’t react quickly enough, however, much to the shot-stopper’s relief.  

    As the half wore on, the Croatian champions were looking more menacing - Ivo Pinto and Wilson Eduardo came close with efforts, before the latter forced Gordon into a superb save with a thumping volley.

    Amidst this spell of pressure, Tonev replied with a shot from distance, which Eduardo coped with comfortably. The keeper had greater difficulty dealing with Virgil van Dijk’s powerful attempt just before the interval but he did enough as Celtic held the advantage at the break.

    Commons and Johansen combined moments after the restart and only a last-ditch tackle prevented the Norwegian driving through on goal. Wakaso then cutback the ball back, with no takers.

    But after this encouraging period of play, the Hoops were forced into some desperate rearguard action.

    After the visitors had mounted a breakaway from a Celtic corner, Wilson Eduardo was left in acres of space to apply the finish but he was denied by the outstanding Gordon.  

    Arijan Ademi headed over and Domagoj Antolic had a shot blocked by Jason Denayer as the pressure mounted.

    A succession of corners at the other end provided some respite but Celtic were back on the defensive again as Denayer had to make a crucial interception to thwart the Croats.

    Gordon came to Celtic’s rescue again, saving from Marcelo Brozovic, before Wilson Eduardo blazed over.

    Denayer was close to converting Stokes’ searching free-kick, substitute Leigh Griffiths shot wide and Stokes lofted an ambitious chip over as Celtic offered a response.

    But that was the prelude to a late onslaught from Dinamo, with El Arabi Hilal Soudani spurning two late chances to grab a leveller. However, the battling Bhoys held them at bay to seal their first victory of the group stages.

    CELTIC (4-2-3-1) Gordon; Ambrose, Denayer, van Dijk, Izaguirre; Brown, Johansen; Tonev (Berget 87), Commons (Kayal 68), Wakaso (Griffiths 77); Stokes

    Not Used: Zaluska, Henderson, O’Connell, Fisher

    DINAMO ZAGREB (4-3-3) Eduardo; Ivo Pinto, Sigali, Simunic, Pivaric; Ademi, Brozovic, Antolic (Coric 74); Soudani, Cop (Henriquez 59), Wilson Eduardo (Pjaca 84)

    Not Used: Jezina, Machado, Santos, Vukojevic

    Website Man of the Match: Craig Gordon

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