Monday 11 December 2017

Guidetti's late equaliser in Parkhead roller-coaster

Celtic 3 Inter Milan 3

Celtic's John Guidetti looks on as his shot heads towards the net for a late equalising goal
Celtic's John Guidetti looks on as his shot heads towards the net for a late equalising goal
Stuart Armstrong celebrates with team mates Scott Brown and Leigh Griffiths after scoring Celtic's first goal
Celtic goalkeeper Craig Gordon fails to hold the ball allowing Rodrigo Palacio to score Inter Milan's third goal
Rodrigo Palacio shoots past Craig Gorden to score Inter Milan's second goal
Inter milan's Xherdan Shaqiri shoots from a free kick as the Celtic wall looks on

Roddy Forsyth

The presence of the surviving Lisbon Lions - victors over Inter Milan in the epochal European Cup final of 1967 - could not see Celtic to similar glory in their rematch with the Serie A side in last night's Europa League, round-of-32 first leg at Parkhead.

Unlike the Lions, Celtic scored three times, first through their £1.75million acquisition from Dundee United, Stuart Armstrong, and seconds later when the same player forced Hugo Campagnaro to deflect into his own net.

Unlike their illustrious predecessors, however, they gave Inter Milan an avoidable 2-0 start, from strikes by Xherdan Shaqiri and Roberto Palacio, before the latter was gifted his team's third by a dreadful blunder by Craig Gordon on the stroke of half-time.

Injury time, though, nourished Celtic's hope for the return leg at the San Siro next week when John Guidetti scored with a spectacular overhead kick - his first goal in 11 outings.

Omission

Manager Ronny Deila brought in Gary Mackay-Stevens for the injured Kris Commons, but the omission that raised eyebrows was that of Anthony Stokes, for whom no place could be found, even on the bench. Guidetti and Stefan Scepovic were both preferred as substitutes.

The home support soon had far more to concern them than the Dubliner's whereabouts - he was, in fact, in the stand - as Celtic were caught out with Inter's first real attack. The danger initially looked predictable when Emilio Izaguirre fouled Campagnaro level with the Celtic box on Inter's right.

Well warned about the threat from such set-pieces, the Celtic players were relieved to see Shaqiri's poor delivery fall short of the mark. As Celtic swarmed forward the ball was funnelled all the way back to Juan Palo Carrizo.

Celtic, though, were stretched, and Zdravko Kuzmanovic chipped the ball cutely for Shaqiri to peel off Virgil van Dijk's shoulder for a left foot shot that would have gone out, but for Gordon's block which rebounded to the Swiss forward. Shaqiri did not pass up his second serving and tucked the drive below Gordon.

Defensive frailty again held the door open for Inter's second, this time when Shaqiri once more saw an effort parried by Gordon back to him. The forward tried a speculative drive which came off Van Dijk and fell for Palacio to rifle home.

When Inter eased off the throttle, the Scottish champions found a menacing rhythm.

It peaked in a sensational two-minute burst. Fittingly, it was Armstrong - the most inventive Celtic player - who hauled his team back into contention. Adam Matthews provided the supply with a forcing run and cutback which Armstrong deftly arrowed beyond Carrizo.

The bedlam which greeted this twist of fortune was outdone by the colossal noise that greeted Armstrong's next contribution, as he attacked a cross from Stefan Johansen and, although he made no contact, distracted Campagnaro sufficiently for the defender to turn the ball across his own line.

Suddenly, and wholly unexpectedly, Celtic found themselves behind again following a ghastly error by the usually imperturbable Gordon in the hosts goal.

Gary Medel tried to relieve the pressure on his defenders by pitching a long diagonal ball upfield towards Palacio, whose cause looked forlorn as the goalkeeper came out to make what should have been a simple interception.

Instead, Gordon allowed the ball to squirt through his hands into the path of the Argentinian, who drove into the empty net. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Telegraph.co.uk

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