Celtic torrent shook Real before the dream ended


Celtic opened last night’s Champions League encounter with Real Madrid with a torrent of attacking play.  The same incisive passing that extended their league lead on Saturday came close to subverting the European champions.  As it was, Real held firm, although even manager Carolo Ancelotti had to admit they were “lucky” not to go behind when Callum McGregor’s strike came off the inside of the post.

Leil Abada had two half chances in the opening period.  The first, when Giorgos Giakoumakis rolled a pass back into his path; the shot went narrowly past the post.  The Greek striker seemed to have time to turn and shoot from a closer range.

Abada’s second chance came courtesy of an immense ranging pass from Jota.  The Israeli winger hit a weak effort from the edge of the area straight at Courtois, however, I don’t think he had any better option available.

Giakoumakis again became provider when he (again) rolled the ball back, this time to McGregor.  When his shot failed to find the net by inches, it is fair to say Real were reeling.

Injured Karim Benzema was replaced by Eden Hazard, the latter missed Real’s best chance of the opening period, sending a shot wide with the goal gaping.  Vinicius Jr was allowed to run through and force an excellent save from Joe Hart, although with the player a clear two yards offside, VAR would have intervened if the need arose.

Celtic’s best chance of the night arrived shortly after halftime when substitute Daizen Maeda failed to make a clean connection with a thundered Josip Juranovic cross.  Goals change games and had that chance gone in, Celtic would have had a lead to defend, but it was not to be.  I remember looking at the clock on 55 minutes and knowing several Celtic players were tiring.  Real scored twice within 5 minutes and ended the game as a contest.  The dream ended that quickly.  Valverde got free on the right and swept the ball across the face of goal for Vinicius to finish.

Moments later, Luka Modric got the break of the ball 12 yards from goal.  Hart got a hand to his shot but could not keep it out.  The keeper did not move his feet as Modric shifted to his left and could perhaps have done better.

The third goal was the pick of the bunch.  Toni Kroos crossed to Celtic’s left where Greg Taylor was left to mark both Dabi Carvajal and Hazard.  The former passed inside for the latter to complete the scoring.

I doubt even the most optimistic of us thought Celtic had a first half of that quality in them.  It  is no exaggeration to say that, at times during the opening period, Celtic were more on top than they were in the local derby on Saturday.

The progress clearly visible in Greg Taylor’s game beggars belief.  A player who looked nervous in possession was comfortable taking a pass in the middle of the park with two opponents in close proximity.

Reo Hatate and Callum McGregor were the beating heart of the Celtic team, though.  Hatate, not content with two opponents, on one occasion held the ball in his own half with three Real players nipping away at him.

Yesterday we asked, How far can this Celtic team go?  We are not the finished article but there is not a team in Europe who will look forward to coming to Celtic Park.

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  1. There’s always a scapegoat when Celtic lose ,Abada ,being realistic I thought Juranavic was out off position at times,

  2. Pingback: Celtic Torrent Shook Real Before The Dream Ended - Celtic News

  3. Ernie (from last thread)



    Don’t think there was any “rope a dope” tactic at play.



    Sure , Ancelloti was confident Real players could re-assert themselves if thy went a goal or two down but he was certainly not sanguine about having to do that. He got agitated with his team several times in the first hour.



    Nor, have Ange’s tactics been sussed by opposition managers. We have just seen Van Bronkhorst screaming at 3 players (whom he had talked to beforehand at length about quick throw ins and free kicks) for failing to note Callum’s intentions.



    It is all very well, noting the fact that Celtic take quick free kicks and throw ins and kick outs; it is quite another thing to be switched on as a player to stop that throughout the game.



    I have no doubt that Ancelotti was , at least, as thorough as GvB in preparing his team for this part of Angeball, but his expensively assembled players were also caught out by various successful instances of attacks started by quick release ball including our early attacks.



    The only difference this time was no end product. There were still successful attack starting throw-ins, free kicks, and roll outs from Joe, that Real players failed to anticipate and failed to thwart last night.



    Our problem was solely with end product.



    I applauded Giakoumakis roll back to Abada in the first minute but, watching it later on TV, I noted that his marker had slipped, but got up in time to thwart Abada’s shot. The better option was for Gia to take the shot on himself. On such split second decisions, goals are scored or squandered

  4. Their first goal last night was pure class. There’s maybe only 5 or 6 teams in this tournament capable of breaking that press and the defending champions of Europe are one of them.



    The second Joe Hart will feel he could have done better, Modric took it early but he’s only one half of the goal to aim for and we were slow to cover it.



    The third, again, is pure class from Real.



    Much more to be positive about than despondent over. Next Wednesday is when our CL quest begins in earnest.

  5. Timbhoy3



    A marauding full back IS going to be caught out of position at times but Josip did a good job, with help from co-defenders, of shackling Vinicius and was also a great instigator of our attacks with breakaway ball.



    I don’t think he was out of position at Real’s first goal- he had two players to mark and chose to close down the primary threat but the ball was passed behind him and he could not recover despite a great effort.



    I had Jura in my top 3 last night but, watching on TV, a lot of Matt O’Rileys’ good work did not show up. I can assure you he was great in that first half but the highlights did not capture that.



    No scapegoats needed

  6. The BBC can’t help themselves. Celtic were allegedly outclassed. Did they say that about the team that lost 4-0 to us last Saturday?

  7. Playing Real three days after the Glasgow derby was always going to be difficult. If only our first game had been against Leipzig. They’ve now sacked their manager and so we can expect them to be better when we play them. We need to at least avoid defeat in Poland now.



    Before the match I said I’d prefer Maeda to Abada. I think even Jamesie would have been a better option. Liel was poor in Europe last season. As good as he’s been in the SPL, the step-up to the CL is too much for him.



    And is Jura a better defender than Tony Ralston?

  8. Ernie


    Thing is we did defend well at times when we needed to, it was just their superior class that tore us apart at times, absolutely nothing we can do about that until we get better players, wining the league and growing year on year will take us there, as long as the board allow the spend obviously.

  9. 79CAPS on 7TH SEPTEMBER 2022 12:31 PM


    The BBC can’t help themselves. Celtic were allegedly outclassed. Did they say that about the team that lost 4-0 to us last Saturday?






    In truth, on the evidence of our last two games, we’re closer to Real Madrid than the huns our to us.

  10. RECAPS What’ have last night game got to do with us ,and beating Sevco 4/0 ,another one obsessed with Sevco.

  11. Delighted with our domestic improvement since Ange came in and we can see some of the play starting to show in Europe now also.


    I also belive there is merit in Ernies point re mixing things up, horses for courses and all that.


    For me, it can be considered as a question :


    “If we deploy the same personnel and tactics against Real Madrid as we do Ross County, should we expect the same result?”

  12. Timbhoy163



    If your incoherent comment was addressed to me, I am not obsessed with Sevco, I was pointing out BBC bias against us.

  13. Disappointment, not pride, was and is my main reaction. Disappointment in that I thought we would score against Real and were unable but not incapable of doing so. Who knows, apart from the Spanish Exiled Tim of course, had we went in at half time in front, and came out for the second still full of energy and belief. And with a full bench to choose from. Real’s first goal reminded of their goal against Liverpool in the CL final, With Vinicius completely blindsiding our whole defence. A long way back after that. Still not convinced with Calum McGregor as on field Captain, good player that he is, at times we need decisive leadership rather than encouragement. He was quoted after the match about us being naive and losing concentration, proof positive of my point right there. That said it is a near certainty Madrid will do to the other teams in our group what they did to us, so if we can get something in Warsaw next week we have a chance of further European football.

  14. The Battered Bunnet on

    Maeda did a Tommy Graveson and tried to close down the keeper from 30 yards away. That decision cost us the match.



    When the defence then shuffled across to the left to cover for Taylor going to ball, there was a Maeda sized hole at the back post when Vinicius walked in to score.



    I expect Ange regretted his half time substitution decision.

  15. I think this team are more comfortable playing out from the back and more brave on the ball and looking for the ball than Brendan Rodgers’ team. It needs more time to get things tighter defensively and of course more incisive finishing but I believe that will come.



    Substitutes were of similar if not equal quality and Ange accepts his system means some players will be dead on their feet after 60 minutes. Some of the players who have hardly featured look really promising, Sead and Aaron Mooy in particular. Jenz has fitted right in too and played the full 90. There’s a lot to look forward to.


    Ange and the coaching team are doing a great job. I really hope Ange will stay for a few seasons more (4 at least) and will feel that European nights outweigh financial rewards elsewhere.

  16. Thrilled and amazed (given the opponent) at the pace and tempo of our game for the first hour as well as the quality of our passing.



    Impressed as well with Ange’s post-match reaction – disappointment at not taking our chances….not caveating that it was Real Madrid, nor over-praising our first half performance.


    Asked if he was optimistic about next games….”it’s nothing to do with optimism nor pessimism, it’s about being ready and determined”.



    We have got one hell of a manager bhoys & ghirls and he will improve us further.

  17. The returnof weeron on

    Paul, I would add that we started to struggle before half time. Hatate and O’Riley in particular, looked like they had nothing left in the tank before we got to the 40 minute mark. This may have been the cumulative effect of not only last night’s 1st half, but also of Saturday’s 90 minutes.



    In terms of how far behind the big boys are we…..still a distance to go. We’ll know that the gap has been bridged when the big boys end up talking about a Celtic win, rather than, ‘but the crowd was good’.



    We can take a significant step forward by getting 7 or more points in the next 4 UCL games.

  18. Really enjoyed that last night, massive disappointment I could feel physically walking back to town but my brain knew we had done well and my heart was very proud



    A few points:



    1. The atmosphere last night was immense, so loud and my daughter texted me to say how loud it was on the TV


    2. A brilliant first half and very unlucky not to score. The Madrid defenders were exceptional at recovery runs and that kept Abada out. He knew he was getting caught again at the last chance and fluffed his lines. In SPL he would have been clean through twice


    3. The Maeda chance was pivotal but he has done a few of them. He said himself he is not the best technically but compensates with effort. Very honest but surprised he got on when he did


    4. not sure why we ended up all over the place at the first goal; no decent highlights on Google search yet. In the Jungle we were all screaming to not let a cross in as Vinicious was all alone. Still a great finish


    5. I agree with Paul that we had to sub a bit earlier. Even Frankie Boyle said it at half time!


    6. Nice to see some Madrid fans in the Hoops bar after the game – all looked very friendly


    7. everyone in the Dublin office today said we looked great



    Hail Hail – so proud

  19. Andy Patons Mullet on

    Regards the players last night, strange how we all see it. I thought CalMac was immense, as was Josip and Taylor. O’Riley and Hatate ran themselves into the ground in the first half. To create those chances and also hitting the post – against the holders and runaway La Liga leaders – gives great optimism for the times ahead.

  20. Not long ago Ange said with the CL in mind most of their recent work had concentrated on being more clinical in the final third. I think we saw that bear fruit on Saturday but last night was too much for our players. The step up to playing against that defence and keeper was too much – they were far quicker of movement and thought as you’d expect. I don’t blame Abada for shooting when he did and how he did, the defender was too quick so Liel knew he wasn’t getting into a better position. And if anything is going to make you snatch at a chance it’s knowing you’ll have much less time than you’re used to. That’s without looking at the best goalkeeper in the world who would make you think you’re not scoring unless you put it right in the corner, in complete contrast to the keeper we faced on Saturday



    Our players aren’t good enough against that quality of defenders. I was surprised just how good Carvajal was, he made Jota look very ordinary. Again, no shame in coming up short against the very best. We’ll never have players who who will be able to be comfortable at that level, but we do have a manager who has a system and style that tries to improve us collectively so we can compete.



    We won’t face another team nearly as good as that again this season. In the past a three goal defeat in Europe sometimes would lead to a bit of a crisis in confidence. Realizing how far short you are technically can be a bit of a blow. Hopefully Saturday and our long run of domestic wins and some perspective will mean we’ll learn and improve from the experience. We seem to have a manager who’ll be able to do that

  21. CELTIC40ME on 7TH SEPTEMBER 2022 1:06 PM


    Potter to Chelsea. Hopefully Brighton won’t be interested in Ange






    They might be but Ange seems to me a man of integrity and would not jump ship at the first chance, he has a contract and I’d imagine he has never broken one before, I doubt he’d start that now, open to correction of course!

  22. At the expense of being a bit technical and slightly negative, I had a look at 10 random recent games in Europe.


    The goals conceded times were as follows – 56.60,77,66,7,75,28,55,57,6,55,81,9,69,61,94,27,74,80,51,88. 21 goals. There is a bit of a pattern. 12 conceded in the last 30, 15 in the last 35. Are we possibly failing to pace ourselves properly during games? We went off like a scalded cat and were unlucky not to score but by the last half hour we look knackered and open to concede. Teams can try to soak it up then have a free hit late on. Just thoughts, shout me down if you disagree

  23. It appears that today some will mostly be looking for scapegoats.



    High press, low block, retreat to 5 in midfield is punishing. That period needed a first goal from us to change the dynamic.



    Madrid’s technical ability was outstanding. We hoped for the turnovers that never came. Kroos and Modric sublime.



    Maybe we should remember the opposition before the blame game starts.




  24. MCPHAIL BHOY on 7TH SEPTEMBER 2022 1:26 PM



    You’d think so, but everybody has ambitions and Brighton are a very well run club playing in the top league in the world.

  25. Markiebhoy,



    It’s a learning curve. Solving the problem ‘how do we maintain that for a longer period’? Tweaking the system, being more ruthless on chances and better players. We aim to be playing this level for years to come and we are at the start.



    Yesterday we understood that. Today some seem to have forgotten. Team’s at the start of its cycle.



    Enjoy the ride.




  26. BIG WAVY


    Thanks for the reply mate, always good to hear from you.


    I’ll be happy with progress this season, that was a bit of a one off last night.


    Progress for me will not be being 2-0 with 30 mins to go and getting beat 3-2.



  27. I was delighted with most of the performance.Not too long ago we were humiliated by Bodo,and before that the Hungarians.Massive improvement,and more to come.


    Haksa Jota,Kyogo,will frighten any defence,Kyoto would have scored Madras chance.Big Ollie in to stiffen the midfield let’s us use Hatate,O Riley,Turnbull,better when sub’s required.


    We won’t face the brilliance of Real in the next 4 games,so everything to look forward to.



    PS,the passes from Hatate,40 yard volley cross field,and Jotas sublime through ball to Abaca were both world class.

  28. Forgive some spelling.This just will not print some words,and I just cant be added having to go back and remedy.


    Maeda in the last post.And in this,Arsed.

  29. Ooofftt,Gio telling the horrible nasties some home truths.


    “Fans wanting new players brought in thinking we have plenty of money.We do not”