Sport Soccer

Wednesday 21 November 2018

Edouard gives Celtic wings to keep their Europa hopes alive

Celtic 2 RB Leipzig 1

Celtic’s Odsonne Edouard was on hand to score the winning goal at Park Head last night. Photo: Ian MacNicol/Getty Images
Celtic’s Odsonne Edouard was on hand to score the winning goal at Park Head last night. Photo: Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Roddy Forsyth

Kieran Tierney and Odsonne Edouard struck to keep Celtic's Europa League qualification hopes alive in a hard-fought tie against RB Leipzig, who shocked the hosts with a late goal from Jean-Kevin Augustin and who came close to stealing a draw with a fierce shot from Kevin Kampl that crashed off the crossbar.

The Scottish champions still have work to do, but there is life in them yet.

Ryan Christie of Celtic battles with Konrad Laimer and Nordi Mukiele of RB Leipzig. Photo: Ian MacNicol/Getty Images
Ryan Christie of Celtic battles with Konrad Laimer and Nordi Mukiele of RB Leipzig. Photo: Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Celtic started with the same XI who started in the 5-0 demolition of Hearts on Saturday, which meant Tom Rogic in the holding midfield position alongside the similarly versatile Callum McGregor, and the reborn Ryan Christie operating between James Forrest and Scott Sinclair, in support of Odsonne Edouard.

The 2,500 Leipzig fans had made a show of marching in column from the city centre, adding to the tranquil disposition of Glasgow's rush-hour commuters, already afflicted by torrential rain.

Faithful

Those home partisans who arrived at the ground early, along with the corporate box faithful, were meanwhile entertained by the mercurial action from Moscow, where Rangers traded goals with Spartak en route to a 4-3 defeat.

This fixture was never likely to yield such abundance but Celtic were swift out of the traps as they sought the crucial edge and, as their early dominance of midfield saw them take the lead when McGregor's free-kick sprang Forrest free on the right to romp past Marcelo Saracchi and direct a cutback across the area.

Ryan Christie of Celtic celebrates his side's winning goal. Photo: Ian MacNicol/Getty Images
Ryan Christie of Celtic celebrates his side's winning goal. Photo: Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Edouard could not reach the ball but Tierney was advancing at pace to the striker's left and gathered possession before striking a powerful low drive. Yvon Mvogo got a glove to the ball but lacked the strength to do more than alter its trajectory into the net. Saracchi was replaced by Marcel Halstenberg within a couple of minutes, although injury rather than tactics prompted the substitution.

Craig Gordon might have been added to the casualty list moments after Saracchi's departure when Jean-Kevin Augustin planted a boot into the goalkeeper in a 50/50 challenge, for which the Leipzig striker was shown the yellow card. Gordon's intervention had been prompted by a rare example of Leipzig menace as Celtic continued to press their Bundesliga opponents.

Rogic had a chance to double Celtic's advantage when Tierney picked him out on the edge of the box but the Australian was not able to muster his customary precision and put too much height on his finish. He likely would have found the mark on the half hour when Edouard's strength carried him through three challenges to the dead ball line, where his attempt to find Sinclair was intercepted as Rogic stood frustrated in front of goal.

The second half began with Kevin Kampl replace Stefan Ilsanker as Leipzig sought to achieve parity in front of their back line and their aggression was manifested by a bookings for Konrad Laimer and Marcel Sabitzer.

In a sudden echo of the earlier game in Moscow, the teams' fortunes swung back and forth in electrifying fashion as the game moved into closing quarter-hour. The first development stunned the green ranks in the stands as Laimer delivered a deep cross to the back post where Augustin rose to head beyond Gordon for the equaliser.

Straight from the restart, however, Celtic surged straight to the other end of the field, where Ryan Christie slipped the ball inside for Edouard to tap the ball over the line to mark his 50th club appearance in memorable fashion. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Telegraph.co.uk

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