Celtic took a step closer to the Champions League group stages by grinding out a 1-0 win over Rosenborg in the second leg of their qualifying third-round tie in Norway on Wednesday.
After being held to a frustrating 0-0 first-leg draw in Glasgow last week, Celtic had to wait 69 minutes to finally take the lead, when James Forrest crashed home from the edge of the box to send them into the play-off round.Like in the first match at Parkhead, Celtic had most of the ball in the opening period but struggled to create clear-cut chances.Visiting goalkeeper Craig Gordon was first called into action after quarter of an hour, as he made a comfortable save from Milan Jevtovic.
The pressure from Celtic almost paid off midway through the first half, as centre-back Erik Sviatchenko saw his header cleared off the line by former Arsenal striker Nicklas Bendtner, before having to hobble off injured.Winger Forrest was the next to go close, but he was denied by Andre Hansen in the Rosenborg goal.
The hosts’ first good opportunity came just after the restart, as Yann-Erik de Lanlay raced onto Bendtner’s pass before firing narrowly wide.But Brendan Rodgers’ men broke the deadlock after 159 minutes of the tie, as Forrest hammered in a strike off the underside of the crossbar after being picked out by Scott Sinclair, to leave Rosenborg needing to score twice because of the away goals rule.
The Scotland international almost completed a brace late on, and although he failed to round keeper Hansen, Celtic comfortably closed out the game.”It’s a pressure game –- you are coming to a team who are the champions of their country with a great history like Rosenborg,” said Rodgers.”You can see the players are maturing, to play in a pressure game like that and pass like we did.”
Elsewhere, Nice youngster Vincent Marcel came off the bench to snatch the French side a 2-2 draw in Amsterdam and an away-goals victory over Ajax. After a 1-1 first-leg draw, the visitors forged ahead through Arnaud Souquet’s early opener.Four-time European champions Ajax looked to have done enough as goals from Donny van de Beek and Davinson Sanchez inspired a comeback, but midfielder Marcel, 20, picked the perfect time to score his first goal for Nice with 11 minutes to play.
Earlier on Wednesday, Togolese striker Emmanuel Adebayor scored his first European goal for Istanbul Basaksehir from Gael Clichy’s pass, as last season’s Turkish Super Lig runners-up saw off Club Brugge 2-0 on the night and 5-3 on aggregate.The draw for the play-off round takes place in Nyon on Friday, when the likes of Sevilla, Napoli and Liverpool enter the competition.
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