GROUP H – Tuesday 22nd October 2013
CELTIC 2-1 AJAX
Celtic got their first win of the group stages over Ajax at Parkhead in a tight match.
A James Forrest penalty gave the home side the lead just before half-time, a deflected strike from Beram Kayal in the second period put Celtic two up. Lasse Schone scored in the 93rd minute but it was a mere consolation.
Both sides spent the early stages of the first half, feeling each other out. Ajax had most of the possession and Celtic did their best to press as much as possible. Celtic got let off the hook after ten minutes, when Fraser Forster fumbled Daley Blind’s cross, which was eventually cleared to safety. Celtic responded with a good move down the right-hand side, Lustig’s cross couldn’t be reached by Pukki in the middle. Ajax continued to control the match; good play from Leon Anderson and Van Rijhn down the celtic left, resulted in a corner, which found Siem De Jong at the back post, the midfielder’s effort, was blocked by Lustig. Three minutes later the Amsterdamer’s hit the post, Fischer’s free-kick delivery from the right was only flicked on by Celtic defender Mulgrew, it found it’s way to Poulsen and his side-foot effort smacked the face of the post. Celtic began to live rather dangerously from their own free-kick, Ajax broke down the other end, Fischer was only denied by an excellent last-ditch Kayal challenge. Just before half-time Celtic got the lead against the run of play. Ajax failed to clear Stokes’ corner the ball eventually came out to him and Denswil tripped him inside the box. Forrest coolly converted to give the home side a lead at the break.
Ajax emerged for the second half, and began again playing their neat passing football. The hosts had the first meaningful effort of the half. Anthony Stokes headed just wide from a deep Charlie Mulgew free-kick. Ajax should have levelled not long after a superb one-two between Serero and Sigthorsson but the South African Serero shot straight a Forster from 6 yards out. Serero would regret that as moments later Celtic broke on Ajax and Beram Kayal’s long-range effort deflected off Denswil and past the ‘keeper to double Celtic’s lead. Ajax went right up the other end from the restart a good move between Fischer, Serero and Sigthorsson with the latter’s effort blocked by Van Dijk. Two minutes later Ajax went close again this time De Jong’s effort flashed past Forster’s right-hand post. Kayal turned Serero in the midfield area only to see his shot well saved. Serero was guilty of missing another chance, he put de Sa’s cross over from close range. With five minutes left, Forster was called into action again getting down low to push away Schone’s effort. Two minutes later Nir Biton was sent off for a late tackle on Serero. After a neat passing move in stoppage time Schone unleashed a shot beyond Forster to give the Ajax fans something to cheer. They couldn’t take advantage of the extra man as Celtic held on for the three points.
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