CHAMPIONS LEAGUE QUALIFYING FIRST ROUND.
Tuesday 18th August 2020. Celtic Park.
CELTIC 6-0 KR REYKJAVIK
Elyounoussi (6, 90+1)
Adalsteinsson (17 og)
After a two week lay off, due to breaking COVID rules, the hoops were back in action. A home tie against Icelandic part timers KR Reykjavik stood in the way of progression to the second round of the Champions League qualifying against Hungarians Ferencvaros. It was to prove pretty straight forward for Celtic as they brushed aside the opposition with a sound display and six goals to the good. It was definitely far from an even match up and highlights the ridiculous nature of UEFA’s rules for getting to the promised land of the group stages.
Celtic showed their intentions from the first whistle with a high line and full backs pushing up to supply the strikers. Ajer and Frimpong were on the bench as a shake up from the Kilmarnock game and in came the more competent Nir Bitton and Elhamed. The Bhoys poured forward and the deadlock was broken on six minutes when a long ball over from Jullien saw Moi Elyounoussi break away and round the keeper to put Celtic one nil up. More pressure saw Elhamed put a low ball across for Edourd who struck it and deflected off Adalsteinsson and into the net for an own goal and Celtics second in seventeen minutes. Fourteen minutes later Celtic pulled further ahead when a corner from Ryan Christie was met with force by the head of Christophe Jullien for goal number three. It was all Celtic and KR would have been grateful for the half time whistle as the home team we’re running riot.
The second half was only a minute old when the Hoops made it 4-0. Another supply from Elhamed, who was proving to be very productive, to the back post for a rare headed goal by Greg Taylor. It wasn’t quite like a training game as we did show respect to our opponents and went about our business with intent but it was no great test for Celtic. Edourd was always lurking and making a nuisance of himself and his persistence paid off with goal number five. He collected the ball on the edge of their box and proceeded to dance through a raft of players with the ball tied to his feet and he coolly slotted it home. As usual we do tend to have lapses in concentration as we did let KR in a few times with a bit of space left at the back and tougher opponents will make us pay. One such time saw Reykjavik have it in our net but Palmi Palmason’s header was deemed offside.
Olivier Ntcham entered the game on 63 minutes replacing Captain Scott Brown and he got busy showing his assets as a midfield organiser. Another double substitution for both teams on 73 minutes and for the Hoops it was Klimala and new Bhoy Ajeti on in place of Christie and Edourd. The game was won and it was won well. And man of the match Moi Elyounoussi put the cream on the cake on 91 minutes sliding onto a beautiful defence splitting pass by Ntcham for Celtics sixth of the night. Neil Lennon seemed pretty pleased at full time with the six goals a clean sheet and no apparent injuries. Ferencvaros will definitely be a stiffer test for us after their 2-0 win at home over Sweden’s Djurgardens. Still a must win in a one off game and I would be fairly confident.
CELTIC: Barkas, Elhamed, Jullien, Bitton, Taylor, Brown (Ntcham 63), McGregor, Forrest, Christie (Klimala 73), Elyounoussi, Edourd (Ajeti 73)
KR REYKJAVIK: Olafsson, Chopart, Adalsteinsson, Pálmasson,Jónsson (Sigurjónsson) Margeirsson, Kristinsson, Pálmasson, Hauksson (Hilmarsson 73), Finbogason (Jónasson), Punyed