Saturday, May 27, 2017

Celtic 1 Molde 2: Norwegians secure place in knockout stages

SoccerNews in UEFA Europa League 5 Nov 2015

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Molde clinched a place in the knockout stages of the Europa League with a 2-1 win away at Celtic, a result that means they have done the double over their Group A rivals.

Mohamed Elyounoussi scored one goal and set up another for Daniel Berg Hestad before the break, as Molde ended Celtic’s five-match unbeaten run at home in Europe.

The hosts had two early goals correctly disallowed, but did see a fortunate effort from Kris Commons count in a see-saw opening half.

However, a miserable night for Ronny Deila’s side was complete when Nir Bitton was shown a straight red card 13 minutes from time for hauling down Ola Kamara.

The result in Glasgow, coupled with the 0-0 draw between Ajax and Fenerbahce, means Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team are certain to go through to the last 32 of the competition.

Celtic, meanwhile, are stuck at the bottom of the table on two points, although they can still qualify.

They had the ball in the net twice in the opening 12 minutes, though neither goal counted as Leigh Griffiths was twice flagged offside.

Molde made the most of the early reprieves to take the lead midway through the first half.

A weak clearing header by Tyler Blackett, who had come on to replace the injured Jozo Simunovic in the opening stages, only found Elyounoussi on the edge of the box.

Under no pressure from the Celtic defence, the Norway international was allowed to control the ball on his chest before unleashing a shot into the right corner that left Craig Gordon rooted to the spot.

Celtic levelled the score in fortunate fashion five minutes later, as Bitton’s speculative volley from long range struck team-mate Commons to wrong foot visiting goalkeeper Ethan Horvath.

However, Molde restored their lead when a deflection worked in their favour. Elyounoussi turned from scorer to provider, with his cross clipping a home defender and allowing Hestad to poke home from close range.

Horvath kept his side ahead with two excellent second-half saves, first tipping over a sharp drive from Kieran Tierney before getting down low to his left to claw away a goal-bound header from Mikael Lustig.

Griffiths, though, failed to even work the keeper when played in by Stefan Johansen’s chipped pass, flashing his attempt wide to the right.

The miss was quickly followed by the dismissal of Bitton, who was beaten for pace as Kamara threatened to race through on goal to complete a dismal night for the Scottish champions.

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