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  • Dominant Celts battle back for 2-1 win over Sunderland

    Dominant Celts battle back for 2-1 win over Sunderland

    By: Martin Dalziel in Sunderland on 18 Dec, 2014 21:10

  • English Premier League International Cup

    Stadium of Light, Sunderland

    Thursday, December 18, 2014


    (Griffiths 51, 80)


    (Ferguson 17)

    A DOMINANT second half and two goals from Leigh Griffiths saw Celtic’s Development Squad record a 2-1 win over Sunderland in the English Premier League International Cup at the Stadium of Light tonight (Thursday).

    The Hoops went 1-0 down in the first half when David Ferguson finished a Connor Oliver corner at the back post but the Bhoys came out fired up for the second half and equalised through Leigh Griffiths on 51 minutes when he collected Kieran Tierney’s precise pass and finished well past Maksymilian Stryjek in the Sunderland goal.

    The striker then made it 2-1 when he won the ball on the edge of the box and shot, forcing Stryjek into another save but the keeper could only fumble the ball into his own net.

    Sunderland started on the front foot, drawing an early foul and passing the ball well in the Celtic half. Connor Oliver was lively in midfield for the Black Cats from the off and attempted a long range shot within the first five minutes but his sights were not aligned.

    Mikael Mandron then broke free when Celtic gave the ball away in midfield but the striker’s left-footed shot hit Leo Fasan’s side netting.

    The Hoops then won a corner against the run of play after good work by Tierney down the left. Liam Henderson floated a weighted pass to the edge of the box for Eoghan O’Connell but his header back in was saved by Maksymilian Stryjek.

    Sunderland broke up with pitch straight from the save and won a free kick on the edge of the Celtic box after Carl Lawson was fouled. Oliver took the set-piece but his shot cannoned off the wall and was cleared by Jamie Lindsay.

    Fasan was called into action again when he did well to punch clear from an Oliver corner but Sunderland then took the lead moments later from another corner. Oliver swung a ball deep to the back post and David Ferguson did well to beat his marker and nod home beyond the stranded Hoops keeper.

    Celtic sought an immediate reply and won their second corner on the right. Henderson fired the ball in and Stryjek slipped in the six yard box, leaving Griffiths free to shoot at the back post, but his volleyed effort went over the bar.

    The Hoops were better in possession after the goal and forced Sunderland back towards their own box. Calum Waters and Tierney did well to link up down the left and provide crosses into the Sunderland box but there were no takers.

    Frail’s side kept the ball well but the hosts were still dangerous on the break and threatened to go two in front after Lynden Gooch rattled a shot off Fasan’s bar but the danger was cleared by Lindsay.

    The Hoops came out fired up for the second half and dragged themselves back into proceedings almost immediately.

    Quick passing and high pressing kept from Tierney in midfield saw the Bhoys capture the ball from a slack Sunderland pass and the Celtic youngster then played a precise ball into the box for Griffiths who finished first time with his left, curling a low shot past Stryjek.

    The Celts were in full flow after the goal, pulling Sunderland all over the pitch and creating space in the wide areas for Waters and Darnell Fisher to overlap more than they had in the first half.

    For all their dominance, however, chances were limited as Sunderland sat deep and soaked up the pressure. That forced Celtic to shoot from distance but both Henderson and McMullan couldn’t find the target with long range efforts.

    Celtic kept pushing on as the half continued but Sunderland were still dangerous on the break and should have scored when they won a corner on the left. Oliver delivered a cross to the front post which Mandron flicked on but Lawson’s volley from inside the six yard box bounced off his boot and out the box, rather than into the net, when the goal was open.

    Aiden Nesbitt replaced Tierney as the Celts tried to press their advantage and the youngster had an immediate impact and used his fresh legs to test the tiring Sunderland midfield

    The Hoops then won a corner on the left after O’Connell had a header saved and put wide. Henderson floated the ball in and Lindsay saw a shot saved on the line before Thomson rattled in a low effort, which was also cleared inside the six yard box.

    The Bhoys then took a deserved lead when good pressure won the ball deep in the hosts’ half. Griffiths picked up possession and drove at the back-tracking Sunderland defence before shooting with his left. Stryjek got a hand to the effort but his save deflected the ball over his shoulder and into the net.

    Griffiths almost got his hat trick a minute later when he stole the ball again on the edge of the Sunderland box but Stryjek saved well this time.

    The striker continued to terrorise the Sunderland backline, forcing them into errors before he set-up Thomson well inside the box but the midfielder’s shot went wide.

    Nesbitt then conceded a corner late on down the Celtic right but the youngster recovered well to clear the cross and seal the win for Celtic.

    CELTIC (4-2-3-1) Fasan; Fisher, O’Connell, Findlay, Waters; Henderson, Lindsay; McMullan, Thomson, Tierney (Nesbitt 64); Griffiths.

    SUBS: Hart, Keller, McCart, Breslin, Donnelly, McIlduff.

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