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  • Euro disappointment for Celtic in Malmo

    Euro disappointment for Celtic in Malmo

    By: Mark Henderson in Malmo on 25 Aug, 2015 21:59

  • UEFA Champions League play-off second-leg
    Malmo New Stadium, Malmo, Sweden
    Tuesday, August 25, 2015

    MALMO FF...2
    (Rosenberg 23, Boyata o.g. 54)


    CELTIC’S UEFA Champions League dream is over for this season after the Hoops lost 2-0 to Malmo in Sweden in the second-leg of the play-off round, consigning them to a 4-2 aggregate defeat.

    Markus Rosenberg headed the hosts in front midway through the first half from Yoshmir Yotun corner, and it was from the same route that they doubled their tally early in the second half, with Dedryck Boyata putting the ball into his own net after Celtic failed to deal with the set-piece.

    There was no way back for the Bhoys as their desperate attempts to find a way back into the contest were repelled by the home side.

    Although they could rightly feel aggrieved about Nir Bitton’s disallowed goal just before half-time, which could have shifted momentum back in Celtic’s favour, the prevailing emotion at the final whistle among Ronny Deila’s men and the travelling support was one of deep disappointment.

    Continental competition will now take the form of the Europa League for the Scottish champions, with the draw taking place later this week.

    Saidy Janko made his first European start for Celtic after Mikael Lustig lost his fitness battle for the match.The inclusion of the summer signing from Manchester United was one of two changes to the team that won the corresponding fixture 3-2 last week in Paradise, with Charlie Mulgrew also restored to the side at left-back. The injured Lustig and Emilio Izaguirre dropped out, the latter named among the substitutes.

    There was a full house in the Malmo New Stadium and the home support created an impressive atmosphere as proceedings got underway, hoping to watch their team make a flying start.

    But it was the Bhoys who threatened first as Stuart Armstrong fastened onto a Craig Gordon’s long clearance and found himself in space down the left. He failed in his attempt to pick out James Forrest but Janko was quick to react, delivering an inviting low delivery from the opposite flank, which Leigh Griffiths was close to reaching.

    That stung Malmo into action and Jo Inge Berget sent a shot whizzing beyond the far post, before the same player cut the ball back from the byline, with Virgil van Dijk on hand to hook the danger clear.

    Berget, who had scored a brace against the Hoops in the first-leg, looked a man on a mission in the opening stages and slid a dangerous ball across goal that was just behind Rosenberg.

    With the game being played at a furious pace, it was hosts who had the next effort as Berget blasted over after the ball had been headed back into his path from a set-piece.

    Griffiths displayed his menace as he chased an long clearance from Janko, outpaced the Malmo backline and firing wide from the angle.

    The speed and enterprise of Forrest and Armstrong on either flank continued to look a promising outlet as the visitors won several corners. When one of them was only partially cleared, van Dijk was close to meeting a cross at the far post.

    But just when Celtic looked like they were growing in ascendency, Malmo broke the deadlock at the other end. As Rosenberg tried to wriggle clear in the box, Boyata was forced to concede a corner. Yotun swung in the resultant cross and Rosenberg glanced in beyond Gordon.  

    Forrest cut inside and shot straight at Wiland as the Hoops sought at instant reply, and the goal they now required to go through.

    The clearest chances were falling the way of the home side though and Boyata had to make a last-ditch block to halt Rosenberg’s drive.

    Celtic, however, should have been level three minutes before the break after Johansen’s corner caused a melee before Bitton stabbed the ball home. Defender Kari Arnason also looked to have clearly handled the ball but somehow the referee disallowed the goal for a Celtic foul.

    But the Hoops had Gordon to thank on the stroke of half-time as his superb reaction save from Nikola Djurdjic prevented Malmo from doubling their advantage.

    Kris Commons replaced Armstrong at the start of the second half but it was Age Hareide’s side who threatened first as Rosenberg shot wide after an attack down the right.

    Some enterprising thrusts from Janko down the right and Forrest on the opposite flank served notice of Celtic’s intention but their task became even steeper as Malmo struck again.

    Gordon produced an incredible double save to deny Vladimir Rodic and then Rosenberg from the rebound. However, he was left to pick the ball out of his net moments later as Celtic failed to deal from the corner and the ball trundled in via the unfortunate Boyata.  

    Try as they might, the Hoops couldn’t get the goal that would provide them a glimmer of hope, with speculative efforts from Griffiths and Commons the best they could muster on a night of huge disappointment in Sweden.  

    CELTIC (4-2-3-1) Gordon; Janko, Boyata, van Dijk, Mulgrew; Brown, Bitton (Ciftci 75); Forrest (Mackay-Steven 79), Johansen, Armstrong (Commons 46); Griffiths
    Not Used: Bailly, Izaguirre, Ambrose, Rogic

    MALMO FF (4-4-2) Wiland; Tinnerholm, Arnason, Bengtsson (Carvalho 46) Yotun; Rodic (Rakip 82) Lewicki, Adu, Berget (Mehmeti 93); Rosenberg, Djurdjic
    Not Used: Andersson, Molins, Eikrem, Vindheim

    Website Man of the Match: Craig Gordon

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