Celtic 2-0 Cluj Review
Another great European night at Celtic Park as we blew Cluj away. I’m not sure that the scoreline did us justice but that’s a minor quibble. We dominated from start to finish on a night where everyone really stepped up as required.
The team line-up had a strong and settled look to it with no puzzling tweaks which saw some playing out of position on Saturday. In front of Forster we had Elhamed,Jullien,Ajer,Boli. A midfield trio of Broonie,CalMac and Christie were augmented in the wide positions by Forrest and Elyounoussi while Eddy went it alone up front.
Our first chance of note fell to Jullien. A short corner-which was a feature all night,and I wonder where Neil got that idea from?-was worked to CalMac,who swung in a tremendous cross to the onrushing defender. His powerful header though was beaten clear by the goalie. He stayed up for the second phase,this time his header going narrowly over.
It merely served to delay the inevitable. CalMac played an excellently weighted ball to the touchline for the lightning run of Boli. First time straight back into the box and I Wanna rose to the acclaim of the fans and bulleted his header home.
1-0 and cruising! Or so we thought,as Cluj battled their way back into the game. They got a free kick five minutes later,driven hard at Forster who could only parry it out. Cluj reacted first,but they had three players in an offside position-including the player who was first to the rebound and also the eventual scorer. Offside was the call,and a correct one.
The rest of the half was a physical battle in tough conditions. Neither team gave nor expected quarter and we went into the break a goal to the good.
The second half was much of the same. Our midfield dominated the area,but Cluj were not for giving up. Every ball had to be won,and after an hour,Elyounoussi did just that inside his own half. He sprayed it wide to Forrest who settled himself with a couple of touches. Looking up,he saw Mo bursting a lung towards the edge of the box and played it inside. To be fair,the shot was cleanly enough struck,but it was the deflection off a defender which made the difference,wrongfooting the keeper.
2-0 and we looked good for it. Cluj still had their moments,and we had the big hands of Forster to thank for the eventual clean sheet,but by this time we were comfortably in control to see the match out-something we should have done six or seven weeks ago. No mistakes this time though-and no failures either.
Of course,that last fact makes picking a man of the match a bit difficult and while I’m tempted to go for Broonie-who was immense and clearly relishes the European stage-I’m gonna stiff him for it and give it to Ryan Christie. Inside less than a year,this fella has gone from a forgotten man being shuffled out the door to a first pick every week. Last night’s display of controlled aggression and calm link-up play showed us all what we very nearly missed.
It’s the Italian mob Lazio up next in three weeks. Let’s hope we can continue our great form then,but that can wait. Last night was all about the three points available. Our performance on the pitch left us all happily singing in the rain as we sloshed our way back home.
It’s good to be a Tim!
Above article by BMCUWP. Fancy a pop at having your name in lights for the day? Send us an article for publication and we won’t let you down. Mail it to Mahe.