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RB SALZBURG 3 CELTIC 1: HOPE – THEN AGONY IN AUSTRIA

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RB SALZBURG 3 CELTIC 1

THERE was hope for 55 minutes and then the roof fell in on Celtic in Salzburg tonight.

Odsonne Edouard scored inside two minutes to give the Hoops the lead and then had one ruled out for offside just before the interval in the Europa League Group B encounter.

But then it all disintegrated in a one-sided second-half where James Forrest was also sent off, Ukrainian referee Seriy Boyko awarded a penalty-kick and left the visiting players baffled by some of his decisions.

It was a night to forget again for the Parkhead side on their travels. Salzburg pushed them back after the startling opening couple of minutes and they were forced to defend far too deeply.

The outcome was inevitable. And yet there was such an enterprising start when a header from Kieran Tierney found Callum McGregor and he slung a ball downfield.

Edouard was onto it in a flash, got away from a defender and with nonchalant ease slid the ball into the far corner. Celtic celebrated and didn’t realise the next 88 minutes would be an endurance test.

Forrest put in a power of work on the right before his nonsensical dismissal. Yousouff Mulumbu, playing instead of injured skipper Scott Brown, worked hard, too, but there just wasn’t enough on show to repel the crimson tide that swept down on Craig Gordon.

Edouard was offside when he tapped in a rebound from a Forrest shot and the Austrians enjoyed their escape as they pushed Celtic deep into defence after the interval.

The inevitable equaliser came 10 minutes after the turnaround when Konate Dabbur first-timed a left-foot drive beyond Gordon after a deep ball from the right hadn’t been dealt with by a hesitant rearguard.

Scott Sinclair came on for Leigh Griffiths on the hour mark and a minute later there was some truly awful defending that presented Minamino with a second goal smack in front of Gordon.

In the 73rd minute, the unfortunate Forrest was sent off when an Austrian made the most of a challenge in the box and the referee bought the dive.

Dabbur scored with ease when Gordon committed himself far too early.

Ryan Christie and Lewis Morgan were sent of for Mulumbu and Edouard, but by then it was all over as another away day ended in misery.

TEAM: Gordon; Lustig, Boyata, Hendry, Tierney; Mulumbu (sub: Christie 77), Ntcham; Forrest, McGregor, Edouard (sub: Morgan 82); Griffiths (sub: Sinclair 60).

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