Celtic faced off against CFR Cluj in the third qualifying round of the UEFA Champions League hoping to get a win in front of their home supporters. The Glaswegian giants drew 1-1 against their Romanian opponents in the first leg but made a poor start to the second leg when they conceded a goal in the 27th minute. Neil Lennon’s men tried their best to come up with a response before half-time but failed to do so.
The Scottish champions kept the pressure on in the second half and scored the equaliser via James Forrest’s clever finish in the 51st minute. Odsonne Edouard completed the turnaround just ten minutes later when he found the back of the net to give his side the lead in the tie.
However, the away side managed to grab the equaliser in the 74th minute via Abdel Billel Omrani’s penalty which put the Romanian side ahead on the away goals rule. Neil Lennon’s team refused to give up without a fight and scored again through Ryan Christie’s goal. But it wasn’t enough as Omrani found the leveller in the 80th minute.
CFR Cluj weren’t done yet as they netted the winning goal with the last touch of the game to claim a famous 4-3 victory at Celtic Park.
Let’s take a look at how each Celtic player performed during the contest against CFR Cluj.
GK: Scott Bain – 4/10
The Celtic keeper had a poor game in goal as he could have done better in the lead up to at least two of Cluj’s four goals on the night.
CB: Hatem Abed Elhamed – 5.5/10
He failed to make an impact in the opposition half. However, Elhamed was defensively sound inside his own half.
CB: Kristoffer Ajer – 6.5/10
His towering aerial presence made him a potent threat in the opposition half during set-pieces. However, conceding four goals tonight won’t make him happy at all.
CB: Jozo Simunovic – 5/10
The centre-back looked a bit shaky at the back after he failed to command his own box with authority and conviction.
RM: James Forrest – 7/10
The Scottish talent scored the all-important equaliser for Celtic early in the second half. He was a real menace for the Cluj defenders and was unlucky to end up on the losing team.
CM: Scott Brown – 3/10
The Celtic captain got dominated by the Cluj midfielders and gave away the decisive penalty in the second half after he handled the ball inside his own box. He would be hoping for better nights.
CM: Olivier Ntcham – 4/10
He failed to turn up on the night which gave Cluj the initiative to make an unlikely comeback in the final quarter of the match.
LM: Callum McGregor – 5/10
The 26-year-old struggled to cope with the threat of the Cluj attackers. However, to his credit, McGregor made some driving runs in the opposition half, which opened up space for others around him.
RS: Ryan Christie – 6/10
He contributed by scoring a goal in the 76th minute, but it wasn’t enough for Celtic to win the tie.
ST: Odsonne Edouard – 8.5/10
The French striker squandered an excellent opportunity in the first half. However, he recovered well and put in a brilliant display for the Bhoys in the second half by giving his team the lead in the 61st minute. He was a potent threat in the final third and seems like a player who is getting better with each game.
LS: Michael Johnston – 6/10
He played his part in the lead-up to James Forrest’s goal in the second half. Johnston showed some glimpses of his brilliance during the contest, but it wasn’t enough in the end.
LM: Lewis Morgan – 5/10
The Scottish midfielder couldn’t do much to affect the game.
ST: Leigh Griffiths – N/A
He did not have enough time to make an impact on the field.
ST: Vakoun Issouf Bayo – N/A
The 22-year-old was Lennon’s last throw of the dice.
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