Sunday, September 22, 2019

AIK 1-4 Celtic (1-6 agg): Lennon´s Scottish champions secure Europa League place in Stockholm

SoccerNews in UEFA Europa League 29 Aug 2019

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Celtic reached the Europa League group stage after a 4-1 win at AIK on Thursday secured a 6-1 aggregate triumph.

Neil Lennon’s side boasted a healthy two-goal lead from the first leg and completed the job with a flurry of goals in Stockholm.

Three of the goals at the Friends Arena came in the first half as a James Forrest strike and an own goal from Oscar Linner, either side of Sebastian Larsson’s penalty, put Celtic in complete control.

Christopher Jullien and Lewis Morgan rounded off the scoring late on for the Scottish champions but their win may have come at a cost, having lost Kristoffer Ajer and Odsonne Edouard to injury ahead of their weekend showdown with Old Firm rivals Rangers.

The visitors were given an early scare when AIK’s Kolbeinn Sigthorsson sent a looping volley against the base of the post inside the opening few minutes.

AIK offered more of an attacking threat compared to last week, but they were three goals behind in the tie with 17 minutes played in Sweden, Forrest bringing down Edouard’s pass and firing past Linner.

After a couple of near misses AIK were briefly back in the game when Larsson converted a penalty he won, sending Craig Gordon the wrong way after being clattered in the box by Boli Bolingoli-Mbombo.

The tie was all but killed off less than a minute later, though, as Michael Johnston took the ball past two men and drilled in a cross that deflected off goalkeeper Linner and into the net.

Edouard hit the post and Linner produced a couple of good saves to keep out Ryan Christie and Forrest, but Jullien found a way through by bundling Christie’s cross over the line in the 87th minute and Morgan added another with a free header in added time.

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