Celtic finally got some points on the board in the Europa League as Kyogo Furuhashi’s sublime second-half goal sent them on their way to a 2-0 win over Ferencvaros.
Ange Postecoglou’s men lost their first two matches to Real Betis and Bayer Leverkusen, conceding four in each, but their slim qualification hopes at least received a boost with Tuesday’s victory.
Celtic were the dominant force for much of the game, though Ferencvaros certainly had their fair share of chances, with the hosts let off the hook more than once.
Stunning play from Jota and excellent work by Kyogo brought the breakthrough just before the hour, and although Callum McGregor failed to put the game beyond Ferencvaros from the spot, David Turnbull wrapped it up late on with a scrappy effort.
The Hoops break the deadlock in style #UEL | #CELFER | #COYBIG
— Celtic Football Club (@CelticFC) October 19, 2021
Ferencvaros inexplicably failed to take an early lead when Ryan Mmaee latched on to a right-wing cross but somehow put his effort over from a few yards out.
Soon after, Jota forced two necessary saves from Denes Dibusz.
The first struck the goalkeeper’s leg after Jota was fed into the left side of the box, before Dibusz theatrically tipped the Portuguese midfielder’s curling effort over.
Celtic were well worth the lead when they eventually broke the deadlock, Jota unsurprisingly key.
The on-loan Benfica talent carried the ball out from the left-back area and played a gorgeous lofted throughball into the path of Kyogo, whose sumptuous first touch set up a composed finish from the edge of the box.
McGregor should have made it 2-0 five minutes later, with Dibusz palming away his spot-kick after Henry Wingo fouled Adam Montgomery.
But Celtic did get another goal nine minutes from time, Turnbull finishing from close range at the second time of asking after fluffing his first shot.
What does it mean? Hoops have hope
It was not looking good after opening the group stage with successive defeats, and a spot in the knockout phase is possibly beyond Celtic given the quality of Leverkusen and Betis, but this win at least preserves a little hope.
On top of that, the three points instantly give Celtic a significant advantage over Ferencvaros – who remain pointless – for third place, which would at least see their European campaign continue after Christmas in the Europa Conference League.
Celtic were excellent collectively almost throughout, but Jota – who played a game-high four key passes – was the star man. His assist for Kyogo’s opener was reason alone to be singled out for praise, though he also played the pass that led to Turnbull’s goal. He will be disappointed not to have scored any of his five shots – more than anyone else – but the rest of his performance was practically faultless.
Striker Mmaee was undoubtedly Ferencvaros’ biggest threat, but he was also extremely wasteful. None of his four goal attempts made Joe Hart work in the Celtic goal and his early miss was a shocker.
These two face each other again in their next Europa League matches, with Celtic travelling to Budapest on November 4.
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