Monday, June 27, 2022

Ntcham Gets 8 | Celtic Players Rated And Slated In Their Draw Against FK Suduva

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Pratyay Maitra
A sports enthusiast in his mid-twenties who reads, breathes, as well as dreams (mostly) about football and attempts to share his views with the fanatics by jotting it down. Prefers to learn through extensive interaction, communication and exploration. So don't be in a quandary and SHOOT.

Celtic’s disappointing exit from Champions League qualifiers against Superleague Greece champions AEK Athens raised a few questions regarding their transfer policy and Brendan Rodgers’ credibility to script success in the elite European contest. They, however, still had an opportunity to compete in Europe but needed to go past Lithuanian outfit FK Sūduva in the final round fixtures of Europa League qualifiers. The Hoops travelled to Marijampolė for the first leg tie and managed to grind out a result securing a 1-1 draw before next week’s return leg outing at Celtic Park. This away goal, scored by Olivier Ntcham in early minutes, is a significant boost for the Scottish champions who are now favorites to make it to the Europa League group stage despite yet another underwhelming display.

Below are the Celtic players rated in their draw against FK Sūduva.

Craig Gordon: 6.5

Should have done better with his outing during Ovidijus Verbickas’ equalizer but the veteran Scotsman stopped Ruben Cicilia from earning the hosts a lead by making an excellent save early in the second half.

Cristian Gamboa: 5.5

An impressive display against Partick Thistle in the Scottish League Cup tie saw the Costa Rican starting the game in the right-hand side of Celtic’s ‘back three’. He was mostly confined to defensive duties in an unusual role and struggled often to deal with the opponents’ runs and movements. Was replaced by Emilio Izaguirre midway through the second half.

Kristoffer Ajer: 6.5

Verbickas was left completely unmarked who headed home Suduva’s equalizer early in the game but the Norwegian was mostly comprehensive otherwise and also threatened on the other end from set-pieces. Almost found a winner in closing seconds but could not direct his header on target.

Jozo Simunovic:6

Simunovic, as well as his fellow defensive partners, must take the blame for the lapse while Suduva’s goal. He was decent otherwise in the first half but was forced to depart with an injury minutes after the break. Was replaced by Mikael Lustig.

Scott Brown: 7

Protected the backline from a deeper midfield role. Was combative while winning possession and also carried the ball forward to distribute among the attackers.

James Forrest: 6.5

Was purposeful with his runs, cut insides, crosses but lacked composure at times and should have been more insightful during his decision making as well as testing the opponent custodian. 

Olivier Ntcham: 8

Earned the visitors an early lead after heading home Johnston’s cross from the left. The Frenchman mostly spent his time around the box and also tried out a few more ambitious efforts which, however, did not alter the scoreline.

Callum McGregor: 7.5

Another impressive display from the Scotsman who worked hard, covered a lot of ground, formed a few attacking movements and also created chances for Dembele and Griffiths later on inside the box.

Kieran Tierney: 7

Was making relentless overlap runs down the left-hand flank. Forced Ivan Kardum to make crucial stops and linked up well with the likes of Johnson, Dembele and McGregor througout the game.

Michael Johnston: 7.5

The youngster whipped in an exquisite cross which was converted by Ntcham to earn an early lead and also created a few more chances in and around the box before being replaced by Leigh Griffiths midway through the second half.

Moussa Dembele: 6

Played a few decent one-twos to create space but struggled against Suduva defence and could not trouble them enough to secure all three points on the road before the home leg fixture.


Mikael Lustig: 6.5

Brought in place of injured Simunovic. Did not offer much going forward but maintained a defensive resilience.

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