Athens Await

Discussion in 'TalkCeltic News' started by Deebo, Aug 2, 2018.

By Deebo on Aug 2, 2018 at 11:30 PM
  1. Deebo

    Jul 9, 2010
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    Athens Await

    Rosenborg - 0

    Celtic - 0

    Lerkendal Stadion, Trondheim
    1st August
    UEFA Champions League qualifier

    Celtic will face AEK Athens in their 3rd qualifying round for the UEFA Champions League after the dispatching of Rosenborg in Trondheim on Wednesday night. The Hoops took an aggregate lead of 3-1 to Norway thanks to a double from Edouard and a sublime finish by Ntcham at Parkhead, after Rosenborg had taken an early lead through Meling.

    Edouard celebrates scoring in the first leg

    It was Meling who appeared to be causing the Hoops some discomfort once again, particularly in the first half as James Forrest and Cristian Gamboa were faced with the stern task of nullifying his threat. The Norwegian defender seemed to have the upper hand on the flank in the opening exchanges, but as Forrest and Gamboa grew into the game he became less of a danger.

    Under Rodgers, Celtic have proven to be a side capable of getting the job done with regards to European qualifiers, and the Rosenborg tie was his eighth consecutive victory as manager in qualifying. Much like in previous seasons when Celtic had taken a comfortable lead into the second leg away from home, there was a certain trepidation in the way they performed but also a sense that qualification loomed once more.

    Despite an anxious start, Rosenborg were limited to half chances for the most part and will have been disappointed at their lack of a cutting edge in the final third - particularly on a night where the Glasgow side weren’t quite at their best. There was a noticeable improvement in the performance levels in the second half, as the midfield trio of Brown, Ntcham and McGregor began to put their foot on the ball considerably more than they had done in the first half. The introduction of Tom Rogic also ignited a bit more movement in the final third and provided an extra option. Edouard worked tirelessly up front, and while he was isolated for large parts of the game he proved to be a useful outlet throughout. He was eventually replaced by Ryan Christie - the Scot deputising very well as a makeshift centre forward, as he never allowed the Norwegian defence to settle on the ball which led to long punts up the pitch that were dealt with superbly by the central defensive partnership of Kristoffer Ajer and Jack Hendry.

    Job done - Scott Brown and Callum McGregor acknowledge each other

    In spite of the result and ultimate qualification, Brendan Rodgers will be looking for improvement in the performance when AEK Athens come to Glasgow on Tuesday. The aim will be to gain a significant advantage at home once more and unlike the home leg against the Norwegians, avoid conceding what could be a detrimental away goal. The champions of Greece will likely pose a bigger threat than Rosenborg, and consequently the concession of an away goal at Parkhead could prove costly. There will be no room for error next week, and the weekend's flag day clash with old foe Kenny Miller's Livingston will prove to be a welcome dot on the calendar as Brendan Rodgers' squad looks to get one step closer to full match sharpness.

    Bobo_, The Prof and Mr Shelby like this.