CELTIC 1 LEICESTER CITY 1
Leicester win 6-5 on penalty-kicks.
JAMES FORREST blew the chance to give Celtic a debut victory in the International Champions’ Cup when he squandered a penalty-kick in the shoot-out at Parkhead.
The game ended 1-1 with a magnificent goal from Eoghan O’Connell levelling Riyhad Mahrez’s stunning opener for the visitors shortly after the interval.
It went went straight to a penalty-kick showdown after 90 minutes with the winners earning two points and the losers gaining one for their efforts.
Nadir Ciftci, Stefan Johansen, Scott Allan, O’Connell and Ryan Christie all made first-class jobs of their efforts from the spot.
Unfortunately, Leo Fasan, who hadn’t a single shot to deal with after replacing Craig Gordon just after the hour mark, couldn’t prevent five efforts whizzing past him in reply.Then up stepped Forrest to place his effort to Kasper Schmeichel’s left and it was a great height for the keeper to spring across his goal to beat the ball away.
All eyes were then on Fasan as Daniel Armarti stepped up to take the decisive kick and, unfortunately, the Italian was left helpless for the sixth time.
The Hoops now have Barcelona to look forward to in Dublin a week tonight in the next round of the tournament.
It took Celtic 17 minutes to get a shot on target against Leicester, but Leigh Griffith’s 25-yarder was easily scooped to safety by Robert Zieler, who was replaced by Scheimchel after the break.
Earlier Brendan Rodgers’ outfit had a scare when a right-wing cross from Rihad Mahrez was heading for the unmarked Leonardo Ullua smack in front of goal before the alert Saidy Janko knocked the ball out for a corner-kick.Moussa Dembele came within inches of opening his scoring account for the Hoops at Parkhead in the 18th minute with a brilliant opportunistic effort.
Emilio Izaguirre fizzed in a left-wing cross which reached Stuart Armstrong, but bounced clear. Griffiths was first to react as he nodded the ball down to Dembele who produced some eye-catching ball-playing skills with his back to goal.
The French striker then directed the ball goalwards, but Zieler changed direction in mid-air and pawed the ball to safety.
There was a lot of effort from both teams throughout the first period, but they cancelled each other out and it was no suprise it was all-square at the interval.
The bulk of the 32,000-plus crowd was silenced shortly after the break when Claudio Ranieri’s English champions took the lead.There looked little danger when the ball fell to Mahrez wide on the right flank. Unforgiveably, the experienced Izaguirre and rookie O’Connell allowed the dangerous forward to get the ball to his favoured left foot as he cut in from the wing.
He accepted their reluctance to keep him on his weaker side to curl an unstoppable drive high past the helpless Gordon into the keeper’s top right-hand corner of the net.
It was an eye-catching goal, but Izaguirre’s defensive capabilities immediately came into question.
Young Irishman O’Connell, though, levelled in the 59th minute in exquisite fashion after Patrick Roberts had initiated the move on the right. His pass inside to Scott Brown was blocked and Callum McGregor’s follow-up shot was also repelled by a defender.
The ball broke to the edge of the box and O’Connell waved away Stuart Armstrong as he stormed forward to curl an unsaveable right-foot effoRt low past Schmiechel at his left-hand post.
That ended the scoring in actual play, but Brendan Rodgers will once again have learned a few things about his players.
One certainty is that Ciftci will not score goals for the club until he goes in where it hurts in the penalty area. He was found wandering around outside the box far too often too create any threat to his opponents.
Celtic now have Astana in Kazikhstan on Wednesday to concentrate on and that will be the game that really matters to Rodgers, the players, the club and the fans.
TEAM: Gordon (sub: Fasan 62); Janko, Lustig (sub: Ambrose 46), O’Connell; Roberts (sub: Forrest 62), McGregor (sub: Johansen 62), Brown (sub: Allan 74), Armstrong (Sub: Rogic 74), Izaguirre; Dembele (sub: Ciftci 62), Griffiths (sub: Christie 74).
Once Upon a Time in the Kingdom of Govania is the hilarious new book from CQN laughing at the demise of Rangers and the pretendy new tribute act playing in the big boys league for the first time this season.
UEFA have confirmed in writing that they are a new club and CQN has been inundated by ZERO journalist’s enquiries from the Scottish MSM asking for sight of this definitive and conclusive letter. Not that we’re bothered.
While waiting on what’s coming next why not enjoy the laugh at both Govania clubs – the dead one and the one with five stars on their shirts – one for every year come the end of the season.
If you don’t laugh your socks off we’ll be surprised! Get your copy exclusively at www.cqnbookstore.com now for only £9.99