Lacklustre Celtic draw in Europa League qualifier first leg

first_img silverware Forbes list reveals how much Mayweather, Ronaldo and Messi earned this decade Tottenham predicted XI to face Brighton with Mourinho expected to make big changes Despite the disappointing performance, Mikey Johnston was a bright spark impact The Parkhead side began to boss the game but were found wanting again in defence in the 13th minute, when an in-swinging free-kick from Vaidas Slavickas, after Kieran Tierney had fouled Andro Svrljuga, was headed in by Verbickas who stole in unmarked at the back post.Celtic, however, soon regained control.Forrest’s drive from the edge of the box was pushed round the post by Kardum – the corner came to nothing – before the keeper saved a header from Johnston, who ought to have done better with Forrest’s cross.On the half-hour mark Ajer tip-toed through the home defence before shooting straight at Kardum from 10 yards, the keeper then thwarting Callum McGregor’s close-range strike before ending the half comfortably gathering a Dembele free-kick.Rodgers was handed another central defensive problem six minutes after the restart when Simunovic limped off to be replaced by Lustig after landing awkwardly on his ankle. How the Premier League table could change after the Boxing Day fixtures smart causal gameday highlights 🎙️ Brendan Rodgers: “I felt for the supporters tonight. They’ve come all the way out here. Probably trains, buses and everything. It’s a disappointing performance for them. They saw a goal but we have to be much better than that.” #SUDCEL #UEL— Celtic Football Club (@CelticFC) August 23, 2018Midfielder Olivier Ntcham got the visitors off to a perfect start in the ARVI Football Arena when he headed in a Mikey Johnston cross in the third minute.However, Ovidijus Verbickas levelled in the 13th minute with a headed goal which would have frustrated Brendan Rodgers, the Hoops boss having lamented poor defending in the Champions League qualifying exit at AEK Athens last week.Home keeper Ivan Kardum pulled off a series of saves, notably from James Forrest and Johnston, as the visitors dominated the first half.But Craig Gordon had to make a couple of crucial blocks after the break, with the draw leaving the Scottish champions some work to do next week although they should finish the job off in Glasgow.With Jack Hendry and Dedryck Boyata out through injury, Rodgers paired Kristoffer Ajer and Jozo Simunovic in the heart of his defence with the latter also pulling up injured soon after the break.Cristian Gamboa retained his place at the expense of regular right-back Mikael Lustig while French striker Moussa Dembele took over from Leigh Griffiths as 19-year-old attacker Johnston was given his first European start.The picturesque surroundings of a 6,500-capacity stadium which had seats to spare belied the importance of the match to Celtic, keen to re-establish their European credibility.Many fans were still finding their places when Celtic took the lead with a simple goal, Johnston’s cross from the left picking out Ntcham who headed past Kardum with minimum fuss. 1 Celtic took a step closer to qualifying for the Europa League proper despite labouring to a 1-1 draw in the first leg against Lithuanian side Suduva.Olivier Ntcham’s effort got the Bhoys off to the ideal start when he headed home Mikey Johnston’s cross but the defence still remains a concern. Every current Premier League club’s best kit from the past decade Latest Football News possible standings Best clips, calls and talkSPORT moments of 2019, feat Hearn, McCoist and more ALTERED Every Championship club’s best signing of the decade, including Taarabt and Dack Tottenham v Brighton LIVE: talkSPORT commentary and team news for Boxing Day opener MONEY Celtic wobbled for a while and Gordon made a great finger-tip save from striker Rigina Cicilia’s strike from the edge of the box before diving to his right to parry a powerful drive from substitute Julius Kasparavicius, both times the resultant corner coming to nothing.Griffiths replaced Johnston and Emilio Izaguirre came on for Gamboa in a double substitution as Rodgers tried to get his side back on track.The Scottish champions began to press with purpose in the final stages and Ajer headed a Griffiths corner past the post in added time but Suduva held out for the draw which had looked unlikely at the start of the evening. England’s most successful clubs of the past decade, according to trophies won last_img read more