Sunday 24 September 2017

Celtic trashed 6-2 by German second division side

Anthony Stokes was in Celtic's starting line-up
Anthony Stokes was in Celtic's starting line-up

Celtic were handed a sobering 6-2 thrashing by German second division side Greuther Furth in their friendly at the Trolli Arena in Bavaria.

After suffering narrow defeats by Ukrainian side Sevastopol and Romanian outfit Cluj, Neil Lennon's team were dismantled by the German outfit and were lucky not to suffer a heavier defeat.

In an open first half, Nikola Djurdjic grabbed a double for the home side, one with a contentious penalty, and Kevin Kraus scored another with Georgios Samaras and Mikael Lustig notching for the Parkhead men.

Numerous substitutions were made by both sides in the second half but it was Celtic who struggled to cope.

Dominick Drexler added a fourth after the break as the Scottish champions went to pieces with Baye Djiby Fall grabbing a fifth from the spot and a sixth near the end with a free header

Celtic play Union Berlin on Friday in their last pre-season fixture of their German tour before the first leg of their Champions League qualifier against Northern Irish side Cliftonville next week and Neil Lennon will be looking for a vast improvement from his players.

The Hoops boss brought back several of his top men including Charlie Mulgrew, Emilio Izaguirre, Anthony Stokes and Samaras and it was the Greece striker who finished off a fine move in the third minute to give Celtic the lead.

Mulgrew's curling cross from the left was met at the back post by Lustig who knocked it back in for the former Manchester City forward to almost casually knock in from eight yards.

Celtic looked in control but in the 10th minute Zoltan Stieber was allowed to get his cross in from the left and Djurdjic, who faced the Hoops in last season's UEFA Champions League qualifier for Helsingborgs, volleyed low past Fraser Forster and into the corner of the net from 14 yards

The visitors fell behind in the 34th minute when Kraus moved unmarked in at the back post to knock a corner high into the net, making Forster's fine save from Robert Zillner's drive irrelevant.

Celtic responded and four minutes before the break fine play between Stokes and Samaras saw the Hoops duo work their way into the German side's penalty area and when the ball fell into the path of Lustig the Sweden international had the easiest of tasks to slam the ball into the empty net.

It looked like the first half would end level but the home side were awarded a dubious penalty when the referee decided a free-kick from the edge of the box had struck an arm in the Celtic defensive wall and Djurdjic calmly sent Forster the wrong way from the spot.

Lukasz Zaluska, who replaced Forster at the interval, made several saves of varying quality as Greuther Furth looked purposeful at the start of the second half.

Celtic survived a few more scares before Drexler made it 4-2 in the 74th minute when he escaped the attention of an increasingly ropey Parkhead defence to guide the ball in from 14 yards.

Zaluska then watched a shot from Florian Trinks rattle his crossbar from 30 yard and Athanasios Petsos also struck woodwork but Lennon's disjointed side were soon to suffer further punishment.

Fall scored confidently from the spot six minutes from time after another soft penalty was given when Hoops substitute Calum Waters was adjudged to have nudged Stephan Furstner inside the box, and there was time for the big striker to score with a header from close range to complete the rout and give Lennon food for thought ahead of the first European hurdle of the season.

Press Association

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport