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Video Highlights - Celtic 2 - 0 AIK Stockholm
AIK Stockholm, a strongly fancied team before this match, weren't just defeated in Glasgow.

AIK Stockholm, a strongly fancied team before this match, weren't just defeated in Glasgow. They were utterly dominated and while this tie isn't settled, the Scottish champions will surely go through.

How many times now has James Forrest been the man to step forward for Celtic on a European night?

The 28-year-old’s strike early in the second half carried with it a bit of good fortune; however, this is a player whose love for the big occasion has made him one of this club’s true greats of the past 20 years.

And when Odsonne Edouard scored with a brilliant free-kick on 72 minutes, his brilliance meant this play-off swing massively in Celtic's favour.

A Celtic goal next week in the Swedish capital would mean AIK requiring at least four.

Once Celtic shrugged off a sluggish start, it was all them the first half against an AIK side happy to sit deep, soak up pressure and try to attack on the counter-attack. And even then, their few attempts to score were half-hearted. A result of 0-0 was always Plan A.

AIK goalkeeper Oscar Linner twice denied Celtic an opener in a half which witnessed some lovely football from the home team once they got going.

The much-maligned Boli Bolingoli cut-back for Mikey Johnston at the end of a fine passing move, the winger’s shot was sneaking in at the far post, only for Linner to get a hand to the ball.

The keeper did even better when following a terrific turn and shot from Edouard, he dived full length to his right and produced a wonder save.

Lennon would have been content if frustrated at half-time. His mood brightened from the start of the second half.

Within a minute of the re-start, Callum McGregor stung the gloves of Linner with a fierce hit from 20 yards.

And then came the goal on 47 minutes.

Craig Gordon was way out of his box when he tapped a pass to Bolingoli. The left-back moved forward with pace with no AIK going to him. He slipped the ball to Edouard, his dummy should have been cut out, it wasn’t, and there was Forrest on hand to put his foot through a shot which Linner got a hand to, which wasn’t enough to prevent the goal.

Celtic sniffed blood. The excellent Ajer, man of the match at right-back, sprinted down his wing, cut in onto his left and the resultant curling effort brought out the best in the AIK keeper.

The Swedes were far more of a threat in last half hour, a warning to what Celtic will be up against in the Swedish capital next Thursday.

A second goal changes everything.

Celtic won a free-kick on 72 minutes five yards outside the AIK area and pretty central. Edouard placed the ball, seized up the situation and produced a stunning shot which dipped into the top corner.

Linner made three good saves after that. There was a gulf in class. It is not up to Celtic to finish the job. They are almost there.

Posted by voc1967 on Thursday 22 August 2019 - 21:04:19 | Comments (0)  |  printer friendly
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