Celtic’s Champions League Opener Tainted by Double Red Card Catastrophe
Feyenoord came out victorious in their first Group Stage game in the UEFA Champions League this season. This game marked Celtic’s first Champions League game since Brendan Rodgers return to the club. His hopes for European football after Christmas didn’t get off to a great start as the Bhoys fell to defeat after having two players sent off in the second half.
Celtic started the game well, with Daizen Maeda working hard in the final third and Reo Hatate having the first attempt on target in the opening minutes.
As the game went on, neither Joe Hart or Timon Wellenreuther were tested as the defenders performed their duties well. That wouldn’t last long though as Hart would be forced into a save to put a 20-yard drive over the bar. Just a few minutes later, Maeda would hit Feyenoord on the counter-attack. He managed to get off a low shot but Wellenreuther pulls of a good save to deny the Japanese winger.
With half-time rapidly approaching, it seemed as if both teams would be forced to rework their tactics for the second half.
After a challenge from Matt O’Riley, the hosts were awarded a free kick in the 45th minute. Hart sets up a wall and focuses on protecting the left side of his goal. Spotting an opportunity, Calvin Stengs steps up and curls his free-kick over Hart’s wall and into the bottom-right corner. De Kuip erupts as the whistle blows for half-time.
Celtic would’ve been kicking themselves at half-time, knowing that they should’ve done better in the first 45. While the Scottish side unsettled Feyenoord with their pressing play, Celtic didn’t create enough chances and allowed Feyenoord to continue their patient build-up play, which was always guaranteed to pay off.
It was Feyenoord that got us kicked off again, but it was Celtic who were pushing hard for a goal in the second half. Luis Palma takes a shot from 20-yards out but it wasn’t enough and Wellenreuther makes a straightforward stop to deny the summer signing. Kyogo Furuhashi forces Wellenreuther into giving the ball away in his own box, but no-one in green and white can capitilise on the mistake.
After a double substitution in the 58th minute, Celtic were looking better and like they may snatch a point from the Dutch side.
Just five minutes later, disaster would strike. Stengs bursts into the box and has the ball at his feet. In a desperate attempt to stop the forward, Lagerbielke throws his arm out and catches Stengs, who falls to the floor. The referee judged it as a foul and showed Lagerbielke his second yellow card. Despite complaints from the Celtic players, VAR agree with the referee’s decision and uphold the decision.
Igor Paixao steps up for the penalty as the Feyenoord fans watch on in anticipation. Dropping to the right, Hart reaches the ball and palms it away from his net.
Despite the penalty miss, Feyenoord continue to push for a second goal, keeping Celtic at bay and seeing a lot of the ball.
It would just get worse for Celtic in the 68th minute, when Holm was shown a straight red for a reckless tackle on Wieffer.
Now down to nine men, Celtic collapse. They allow Geertruida to break through their defence and put the ball in the back of the net. After a VAR check, it was determined that Geertruida was in an offside position when he received the ball and the goal is ruled out.
The decision didn’t deter Feyenoord though, as they kept pushing and eventually doubled their advantage. After a Celtic clearance, the ball fell to Jahanbakhsh who hit it from close range to increase Feyenoord’s lead.
In the final minutes of the game, Feyenoord are able to put the ball in the back of the net but the flag goes up immediately and VAR agrees. The goal is ruled out.
Feyenoord’s victory has them leading Group E following Lazio’s late equaliser against Atlético Madrid.
A close-fought tie in the first 45 minutes quickly turned one-sided as Feyenoord gave their home crowd something to celebrate.
While there is a lot of debate over Lagerbielke’s red card, it seems unlikely that Celtic will appeal the decision after comments made by Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers in a post-match interview. He said: “The first one you’ve got to shepherd it through to the goalkeeper. You don’t need to get in the fight, it’s going to come through to Joe anyway so that’s just inexperience.”
Feyenoord will hope to put in a similar performance against Ajax, who they take on next in the Eredivisie on Sunday, September 24th, at 13:30. In Scotland, Celtic go up against Livingston in the Scottish Premiership on Saturday, September 23rd, at 12:30.
In the Champions League, Celtic host Lazio on Wednesday, October 4th, at 20:00. Their first Champions League tie at home will be an exciting occassion for everyone at the club, and they’ll hope to pull off a victory in-front of a packed out Celtic Park. Feyenoord will be preparing for a visit to Spain as they will be taking on Atlético Madrid on Wednesday, October 4th, at 17:45.
Feyenoord 2 – 0 Celtic
Stengs 45+2′, Jahanbakhsh 76′
Feyenoord Starting XI
Wellenreuther, Geertruida, Hartman, Q. Timber, Stengs, Paixão, Ivanušec, Trauner (C), Minteh, Wieffer, Hancko
Celtic Starting XI
Hart, Johnston, Taylor, Lagerbielke, Scales, Palma, Furuhashi, O’Riley, Maeda, Hatate, McGregor (C)