CFR Cluj and Celtic could not defeat each other and the first leg of their 2019-20 UEFA Champions League Qualifiers tie ended with a 1-1 draw. Mario Rondon opened the score for the Romanian side, while James Forrest evened things up for the Scottish champions before the break.
The final score paints the picture of an evenly matched contest, and that’s the best way to define what happened at Stadionul Dr. Constantin Rădulescu. Neither side was able to top the other throughout the duration of the match, and the draw was the best possible outcome.
Cluj had the edge when it comes to the match stats, though. The hosts had more possession (53 to 47), created more goal attempts (14 to 13) and had more corner kicks (eight to seven). Celtic, however, were more accurate and had more shots on target: four against the opposition’s three.
It would the home side that would open the score thanks to Rondon. A spectacular counter-attacking sequence on the right flank allowed Ciprian Deac to find Rondon, and the Venezuelan forward found the back of the net with a great finish from close range. Celtic, however, equalized before the break when Forrest took advantage of a low cross to slot the ball out of the goalkeeper’s reach.
A disappointing second half sets up an exciting return leg
The first half ended with a 1-1 draw, but things didn’t open up after the break. Neither side was able to create consistent scoring chances and despite a plethora of changes from both sides, the score was even. Perhaps the best scoring opportunity in the second half came thanks to Deac tested the keeper in the 80th minute but his effort went sailing off the post.
Celtic, meanwhile, had their best moments thanks to Forrest but he lacked company on the attacking end. Therefore, the match ended with a 1-1 draw. And now things will be decided in the second leg to be played next week.
The return leg of this tie will be played at Celtic Park next Tuesday.
CFR Cluj: Arlauskis; Susic, Paulo Vinicius, Burca, Camora; Deac, Luis Aurelio, Bordeianu, Djokovic; Omrani (Paun, 66’), Rondon (Tucudean, 75’)
Bench: Vatca (GK), Cestor, Butean, Sylla, Costache
Celtic: Bain; Ajer, Elhamed (Bitton, 87’), Simunovic (Jullien, 74’), Mbombo; Forrest, Brown, McGregor; Christie; Edouard, Morgan (Ntcham, 67’)
Bench: Gordon (GK), Hayes, Griffiths, Shved
Goals: Rondon (1-0, 28’), Forrest (1-1, 37’)
Referee: Srdjan Jovanovic
Yellow Cards: Bordeianu, Luis Aurelio, Susic (CLU); Mbombo, Morgan, Bitton (CEL)
Red Cards: None
Venue: Stadionul Dr. Constantin Rădulescu
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