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  • Late van Dijk strike seals dramatic win over Aberdeen

    Late van Dijk strike seals dramatic win over Aberdeen

    By: Martin Dalziel on 09 Nov, 2014 14:38

  • SPFL

    Pittodrie, Aberdeen

    Sunday, November 9, 2014

    CELTIC...2

    (Johansen 37, van Dijk 87)

    ABERDEEN...1

    (Rooney 26)

    A SENSATIONAL late goal from Virgil van Dijk gave Celtic a 2-1 win over Aberdeen in a pulsating encounter at Pittodrie today (Sunday).

    The Dons took the lead after 26 minutes when Adam Rooney got the final touch to a scramble in the box but the Hoops were soon on level terms after Stefan Johansen finished off a fine flowing move with a low shot past Scott Brown in the Dons goal.

    The drama continued in the second-half when Celtic captain Scott Brown was sent off for a second bookable offense before Virgil van Dijk knocked in a Stefan Johansen corner at the back post minutes from the end, to give the Hoops the win.

    It was a fitting end to a match that started with a great atmosphere which lasted until the final whistle.

    Aberdeen threatened first with a long ball over the top to Adam Rooney but Virgil van Dijk was on hand to clear the danger.

    The home fans were then screaming for a penalty when Scott Brown showed good strength to outmuscle Peter Pawlett in the Celtic box and usher another through ball out for a goal-kick.

    Aberdeen were forced into an early change when Willo Flood fell awkwardly as he and John Guidetti chased down a loose clearance, with the Irishman replaced by Barry Robson.

    Celtic gained some momentum after the break in play and won a free-kick on the right flank. Stokes floated the ball into the box and it was met by Jason Denayer but his header went to the edge of the box where Brown volleyed over.

    The Bhoys were comfortable in possession going forward but Aberdeen were sharp on the break and Denayer had to time a challenge to perfection to stop Peter Pawlett on the edge of Lukasz Zaluska’s box to stop a chance.

    The frantic pace continued when Stokes went close after great build-up play in the Dons box saw Stefan Johansen tee the Irishman up, but his low curling effort went wide.

    Aberdeen’s early warnings on the counter-attack then brought dividends as they won a throw-in deep in Celtic territory.

    The ball was launched into the Hoops box and the defence failed to deal with it. A scramble ensued wish saw Zaluska get a hand to Rooney’s shot but neither he nor Emilio Izaguirre could do enough to stop it from creeping in and the Dons went 1-0 up.  

    Celtic sought an instant reply and had a chance with a corner after Forrest powered into the box before his cross was blocked. The set-piece was cleared but the Bhoys maintained the pressure and soon drew level through Johansen.

    Izaguirre linked up well with Stokes to set him free in the Aberdeen half. The striker got to the edge of the box before setting up Johansen who dragged the ball left of Ashton Taylor and slotted past Scott Brown in the Dons goal to make it 1-1.

    The Norwegian went close to making it two when he rattled in a shot from 18 yards but Brown got down well this time and pushed it clear.

    Celtic went close again with a shot from James Forrest but his left-footed effort crept over the bar as half-time beckoned.

    The Hoops started the second half patiently and won a set of corners to kick off the second period. Van Dijk rose well to the first but Brown managed to clear. Denayer got the second but his effort glanced off the top of his head and out for a throw-in.

    Celtic captain Brown was then given a final warning for a tackle on Pawlett as both teams struggled to regain their rhythm.

    Aberdeen were still dangerous on the break, however, and former Celt Niall McGinn was the architect of most of their counter-attacking chances.

    He found himself in space on the edge of the Celtic box after the Dons broke up the park but his curling shot went just over Zaluska’s cross bar. McGinn threatened again after collecting Pawlett’s pass in the box but his low shot was saved well by Zaluska.

    Callum McGregor replaced James Forrest as Ronny Deila made his first change and tempers began to fray after the change when Jonny Hayes fouled Izaguirre at the Celtic byline, much to the displeasure of the Honduran left-back.

    Both players were booked and were soon joined by Scott Brown for a foul on Pawlett and then Barry Robson for persistent fouling.

    The Dons brought off Hayes for David Goodwillie and Leigh Griffiths replaced Stokes as both teams went for a winner.

    The fresh legs for the Hoops gave them supremacy in possession but they struggled to cut Aberdeen open as the hosts sat in before piling numbers forward on the break.

    The Bhoys then went down to 10 men after Brown was given a second yellow for a foul a challenge on Niall McGinn on the edge of the Celtic area.

    Celtic were undeterred, however, and began to create more chances before winning a corner late on.

    Johansen’s set-piece was cleared for another corner and he swung the second ball into the back post were van Dijk was on hand to tap in at the back post and break Aberdeen’s hearts.

    It was a winner for the Bhoys in the most dramatic way and gave them a 2-1 victory to put the Celts top of the league.

    CELTIC (4-3-3) Zaluska; Matthews (Lustig 78), Denayer, van Dijk, Izaguirre; Brown, Johansen, Mulgrew; Forrest (McGregor 60), Guidetti, Stokes (Griffiths 70)

    Not used: Fasan, Scepovic, Wakaso, Kayal,

    ABERDEEN (4-4-2) Brown; Logan, Taylor, Reynolds, Considine; Hayes (Goodwillie 65), Jack, Flood (Robson 9), Pawlett (Monakana 85); Rooney, McGinn.

    Not used: Langfield; McKenna, Smith, Shankland.

    Website Man of the Match: Virgil van Dijk

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