Celtic learned a hard lesson from Real Madrid’s cool side in their Champions League comeback, scoring two goals in four minutes of the second half en route to a 3-0 victory in Glasgow.
Riel Avada twice, substitute Daizen Maeda missed some great chances, Callum McGregor hit the post and goals from Vinicius Jr. and Luka Modric made it all clear.
Anju Postecoglou vows the Celtic side will test its focused attacking style against the European champions, with problems against a starting line-up featuring 10 players who started last season’s final against Liverpool. It has been shown that it can cause
But their failure to take their chances while at the top bit them again and Eden Hazard gave the Spaniard a cushion, which was cruel to the hosts.
A banner in the Celtic standing area proclaimed they were ‘back in full force’ and the hosts had a golden opportunity to lead within 30 seconds of their first Champions League group game in five years. It fell to Avada, but Thibaut Courtois pushed the Israel national team’s shot sideways.
Vinicius successfully broke down Real’s left flank and Cameron Carter Vickers blocked Modric’s shot, but Celtic continued to press and Avada quickly missed another good chance.
Jota’s first pass cleared his fellow winger after Celtic landed a quick free-kick on the edge of the box, but Avada shot straight through the goalkeeper.
The Scottish champions kept the pressure on. McGregor’s first strike shook the frame of the goal, but he bounced back to safety from inside the post.
Federico Valverde hit a goal from the opposite 20 yards just before Karim Benzema was sent off with an injury after being warmly applauded by the home fans. Here comes the hazard.
Real dominated the rest of the first half, with Hazard hitting a 6-yard shot after a Modric cross.
The Belgian quickly sent Vinicius clear despite high suspicion of offside, but was successfully blocked by Joe Hart.
Maeda was replaced by Avada at halftime, but missed his best chance within two minutes with a straight shot from six yards to Courtois following Josip Djuranovic’s cross.
Celtic paid for the mistake in the 56th minute. Valverde created space on the right and found Vinicius cutting in from the left. Juranovic couldn’t make the ground to cut the low cross and 22-year-old Juranovic slotted into the corner.
A double punch was completed after Hazard cleared after Carter Vickers outnumbered Celtic. He feeds Modric, who cuts inside and shoves the ball into the corner of the net with the outside of his boot.
The away side eased the tension in the game and Kyogo Furuhashi thrilled the home crowd with a goal in the 72nd minute.
After Dani Carvajal cut the ball back following a deep cross, Hazard at least momentarily silenced them when he scored a goal from six yards.
Furuhashi, Jota and substitute Sead Haksavanović nearly rewarded the Celtic supporters’ constant support with a goal, but their team’s appreciation at full-time meant they would still leave their mark in the tournament. It provided further evidence of what I believe is possible.