3 (Edouard x 2, Ntcham)
Wednesday 25th July 2018
UEFA Champions League - Second Qualifying Round (1st Leg)
Having comfortably swatted FC Alashkert aside in the first qualifying round of the 2018/19 Champions League, the next hurdle for Celtic was Rosenborg BK. Wednesday night’s action saw the Bhoys hosting the Norwegian champions in the first leg of the second qualifying round.
It was to be a treble-treble, as for the third competitive match in a row, Celtic managed to put 3 goals on the board in an impressive 3-1 victory. Despite falling behind early, Brendan Rodgers and his players rose to the occasion and blew their opponents away in a magnificent second half display that perhaps deserved an even bigger winning margin.
Rodgers acknowledging the support after a fine result.
With Moussa Dembele and Jozo Simunovic unavailable for selection, Brendan Rodgers had to adjust the shape and reshuffle the pack for the game. In came Scott Sinclair and Cristian Gamboa, who hadn’t appeared for Celtic since February. The visitors, meanwhile, had their own problems in the lead up to the match, having sacked their manager and losing two key players to injury.
After a fairly slow start to the match, Rosenborg drew first blood in the 16th minute. Jack Hendry drove forward with the ball before losing possession in the opposition half. The Norwegians took advantage, breaking forward and punishing some slack play from the Hoops. Nicklas Bendtner set up left back Birger Meling, who produced a fine finish from inside the area.
Rosenborg were proving to be a tough nut to crack, however Celtic started making inroads after Rodgers moved James Forrest out to the right, with Callum McGregor taking up a central position. The probing from the home side paid off just before half-time. Sinclair, finding himself inside the area on the left, slid the ball to Odsonne Edouard who coolly slotted the ball home from 10 yards out. Game on.
Odsonne Edouard draws the Hoops level shortly before half-time.
Whatever Brendan Rodgers said at half-time clearly worked, because it took Celtic all of 40 seconds after the break to strike again, and what a strike it was. Olivier Ntcham received the ball 25 yards from goal, before dragging the ball back and to the side, only to curl it inside the far post. It was a special goal from a special player. It was advantage Celtic and a sign of what was to come.
The following 30 minutes was just wave after wave of Celtic attacks. The crossbar and the goalkeeper spared Rosenborg’s blushes as they seemed to be called into action every other minute. Try as they might, however, they couldn’t prevent a third Celtic goal. After some great pressing and a fine pass from James Forrest, scorer of the first goal Odsonne Edouard found himself bearing down on goal from 35 yards out. The Rosenborg defenders weren't able to keep up and could only watch as the French striker channelled his inner-Henrik Larsson and magnificently dinked the goalkeeper to put Celtic further ahead in the tie.
Edouard expertly chipping the Rosenborg goalkeeper for the third.
Despite both sides trying to grab another goal in the closing stages, the game finished 3-1 – a result which perhaps flattered Rosenborg. Conceding an away goal is never ideal, however Brendan Rodgers will be delighted with the reaction from his players and confident of getting the job done in Norway next Wednesday.