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Tuesday, March 5, 2024

‘Terrific’ Celtic take belief from Atletico draw

‘Terrific’ Celtic take belief from Atletico draw


Kyogo Furuhashi’s fourth-minute strike was reward for Celtic’s fast start against Atletico Madrid

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers says his “terrific” side will receive an injection of belief after gaining their first Champions League point of the season in a ferocious contest with Atletico Madrid.

Rodgers’ men led twice at a raucous Celtic Park, first through Kyogo Furuhashi’s fourth-minute opener, then Luis Palma’s angled strike, after Antonie Griezmann converted a penalty at the second attempt.

But Alvaro Morata’s second-half header levelled the contest again to leave Celtic bottom of the group at the halfway stage and denied them a long-awaited home group stage win.

The draw means the Scottish champions retain a chance of claiming third place and a Europa League spot after Christmas, but progression in this competition is looking increasingly unlikely.

“That was a really good performance, but we just couldn’t get the win,” Rodgers said. “I don’t think you can say they’ll fly back to Spain not knowing they’ve had a tough game.

“They didn’t create so much. Their equaliser was fantastic and shows the quality at this level.

“Our reaction in the game was superb, having the courage and the bravery to play. We showed we can compete with a top level team. We can create opportunities. We can play the game the way we want to play.”

It had seemed that Celtic’s hopes would be reignited after a terrific first-half display.

The noise before kick-off was off the charts, and it grew even louder when Matt O’Riley superbly combined with Kyogo, who showed great composure to send the home crowd into an early frenzy.

It was no false dawn. Celtic were more than matching their illustrious opponents.

But their good work was undone when Rodrigo De Paul released Nahuel Molina, who was caught by Greg Taylor. Griezmann took the resultant penalty, and although Joe Hart saved, the ball struck a post and fell for Griezmann to finish.

Table

How would Celtic react? Superbly.

Taylor released Daizen Maeda, whose cross evaded everyone in the middle but fell for Luis Palma, who thundered a shot back across in off an upright via a slight deflection off Mario Hermoso. A dream result was very much on.

O’Riley then had a volley beaten away by Jan Oblak as Celtic sensed the possibility of a third in a thrilling opening period.

Atletico emerged a different side after the break, though, and were rewarded when substitute Marcos Llorente swung in a wonderful cross for the, until then, quiet Morata and he arrowed a header home.

Diego Simeone’s side showed their quality from that moment, with a tiring Celtic less of a threat and having to defend with real concentration and discipline for long spells.

Substitute Angel Correa spun superbly in the box to create space and his shot was well saved by Hart.

De Paul offered Celtic hope when he caught O’Riley to earn a second yellow late on but the hosts couldn’t capitalise on that advantage as they pushed forward and had to settle for a point.

Player of the match – Matt O’Riley (Celtic)

Matt O’Riley
Against a team packed with superstars, a number of Celtic’s side stood out. O’Riley was again crucial and his quality unlocked Atletico for the opener. He’s a player operating at a consistently high level and didn’t look out of place throughout.

Improving Celtic don’t look out of place – analysis

Great European nights at Celtic Park have been drifting into distant history. A 10-year wait for a Champions League group stage win in Glasgow has meant a lot of suffering for supporters at the highest level.

The first half of this thrilling encounter was up there with some of the most compelling in some time.

That elusive win was very much on the cards come half-time in what was a display of genuine quality against top opposition. Celtic did so may things well and played at a level that showed they belong here.

There will be disappointment that those levels couldn’t be sustained throughout. However, over the course of the campaign, Rodgers’ side have shown they are far from out of place despite only having one point to show for their efforts.

What they said

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers: “That was a really good performance, but we just couldn’t get the win. We’re not used to playing at that tempo and a wee bit of fatigue kicks in.

“We were unfortunate with the penalty. I thought it was harsh and it rebounds straight to them.”

Celtic keeper Joe Hart on TNT Sports: “Atletico are resolute, they made it difficult for us. They’re not a team that’s going to panic going down to 10 men. All the tricks came out.

“Our first half was electric. We’re getting there, just one more little push.”

Former Celtic goalkeeper Pat Bonner on Sportsound: “If they go to Madrid and play near to how they played in the first half, Celtic can get a result. To sustain that over 90 minutes is the critical part at this level.

“They’re competing in this group now. To stay in Europe in some form after this group would be a major achievement.”

Former Scotland forward James McFadden on Sportsound: “Atletico stopped Celtic from creating and getting into a rhythm in the second half.

“That’s what Atletico do. They find a way to get a result. They find a way to stifle you.”

Match stats

  • Celtic remain winless in 12 home matches in the Champions League (D3 L9). They haven’t won any of their last five games in the competition in which they’ve scored the opening goal (D3 L2).
  • Atletico are winless in their last six away games in the Champions League (D2 L4); their longest run under Diego Simeone, having last had as long a run back in November 2009 (a run of six).
  • Celtic scored more than once in a Champions League game for the first time since September 2017 v Anderlecht (their last win in the competition), having not netted more than once in any of the previous 12 games (seven goals).
  • Griezmann has been directly involved in 31 goals in 38 appearances for Atletico in 2023 (19 goals, 12 assists) – only Real Madrid’s Vinicius Junior (32) has been involved in more for a Spanish club in this period.
  • Kyogo became the first Celtic player to score in consecutive home appearances in the Champions League since Kenny Miller in October 2006.
  • His goal (3:28) was the earliest Atletico Madrid have conceded in a Champions League game since December 2009 against FC Porto (1:21 – Bruno Alves).

What’s next?

Celtic return to league action with a trip to Edinburgh to face Hibernian on Saturday (15:00 BST). Their next Champions League action will be the return against Atletico in Spain on Tuesday, 7 November.

Line-ups

Celtic

Formation 4-3-3

  • 1Hart
  • 2Johnston
  • 20Carter-VickersBooked at 30mins
  • 5Scales
  • 3TaylorBooked at 59mins
  • 33O’Riley
  • 42McGregor
  • 41HatateSubstituted forGonçalves Bernardoat 7′minutes
  • 38Maeda
  • 8FuruhashiSubstituted forForrestat 80′minutes
  • 7PalmaBooked at 51minsSubstituted forPhillipsat 62′minutes

Substitutes

  • 4Lagerbielke
  • 6Phillips
  • 13Yang
  • 14Turnbull
  • 19Oh
  • 24Iwata
  • 28Gonçalves Bernardo
  • 29Bain
  • 43Morrison
  • 49Forrest
  • 56Ralston
  • 90Johnston

Atl Madrid

Formation 3-5-2

  • 13Oblak
  • 15SavicBooked at 82mins
  • 20Witsel
  • 22Hermoso
  • 16MolinaBooked at 45mins
  • 5De PaulBooked at 82mins
  • 6Koke
  • 8SaúlSubstituted forRiquelmeat 45′minutes
  • 17GalánBooked at 38minsSubstituted forLlorenteat 45′minutes
  • 7Griezmann
  • 19MorataSubstituted forCorreaat 73′minutes

Substitutes

  • 1Grbic
  • 3Azpilicueta
  • 4Söyüncü
  • 10Correa
  • 14Llorente
  • 24Barrios
  • 25Riquelme
  • 31Gomis

Referee:
Felix Zwayer

Attendance:
55,844

Live Text

Player of the match

ScalesLiam Scales

Celtic

  1. Squad number5Player nameScales

  2. Squad number33Player nameO’Riley

  3. Squad number38Player nameMaeda

  4. Squad number7Player namePalma

  5. Squad number8Player nameFuruhashi

  6. Squad number42Player nameMcGregor

  7. Squad number20Player nameCarter-Vickers

  8. Squad number28Player namePaulo Bernardo

  9. Squad number1Player nameHart

  10. Squad number2Player nameJohnston

  11. Squad number3Player nameTaylor

  12. Squad number6Player namePhillips

  13. Squad number49Player nameForrest

  14. Squad number41Player nameHatate

Atlético Madrid

  1. Squad number7Player nameGriezmann

  2. Squad number19Player nameMorata

  3. Squad number13Player nameOblak

  4. Squad number6Player nameKoke

  5. Squad number15Player nameSavic

  6. Squad number8Player nameSaúl

  7. Squad number22Player nameHermoso

  8. Squad number16Player nameMolina

  9. Squad number20Player nameWitsel

  10. Squad number17Player nameGalán

  11. Squad number14Player nameMarcos Llorente

  12. Squad number25Player nameRiquelme

  13. Squad number5Player nameDe Paul

  14. Squad number10Player nameCorrea

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