Celtic

Photo by Ian Rutherford/PA Images via Getty Images

Eduoard the difference as Celtic wins Old Firm Derby

Leave a comment

Celtic toppled Rangers 1-0 in the first Old Firm derby of the season on Sunday at the Ibrox Stadium, Neil Lennon out-foxing Steven Gerrard via Odsonne Eduoard.

In a match with as many fouls as shot attempts, the man Celtic supporters call “French Eddy” make the difference with a goal and a stoppage time assist of Jonny Hayes.

[ MORE: Bruce on Almiron’s struggles ]

Rangers’ Jordan Jones was sent off for a reckless sliding foul in the sixth minute of stoppage.

It was Rangers’ first loss of the season, leaving Gerrard’s men three points back of perfect Celtic after four match days.

And for Celtic boss Lennon, it was somehow… vindication? The dominant side of Scottish football clearly had a thorn stuck in its foot despite its consistent run of titles, probably due to a shortened Champions League campaign and the perceived uninspiring hire of Lennon to replace Brendan Rodgers:

“Myself, the board, the players have all been written off so early. But we don’t believe the noise. We don’t believe the hype. We’ve come here and performed an outstanding masterclass of how to play in a derby at Ibrox.”

The 21-year-old Eduoard scored his fifth goal in seven Old Firm Derbies to go with two assists. All of those matches were wins for the Bhoys. It’s safe to say he’s taken the mantle of rival star from Moussa Dembele, now of Lyon.

Rangers goalkeeper Allan McGregor was very good in the second half, giving his men a chance after the hosts’ early second half surge relented and saw Celtic on the front foot.

Gerrard lost a derby at the Ibrox for the first time, entering the day 2-2 with wins at home and losses at Celtic Park.

Europa League group stage draw complete

Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images
Leave a comment

The Europa League group stage draw has given tougher tasks for Arsenal and Wolves than Manchester United.

[ MORE: UEFA caps away prices ]

Manchester United will be traveling, with trips to Kazakhstan (Astana) and Serbia (Partizan Belgrade) joining a jaunt to the Netherlands to face AZ Alkmaar.

Last season’s runners-up, Arsenal, will have a tricky group which includes Eintracht Frankfurt. The Bundesliga side lost a lot of firepower in the offseason but nonetheless can win through multiple styles of play. Standard Liege is also a challenge, while Vitoria is far from a Pot 4. Gooners will like their travel schedule, however.

Wolves return to Europe stays tough, as Nuno Espirito Santo‘s tough defeat of Torino is met by visitis to Besiktas, Braga, and Slovan Bratislava. But why did UEFA pair a Portuguese side up with another Portuguese side (We see you, Torino).

Outside of the Premier League:

— As Celtic and Rangers prepare for an Old Firm Derby this weekend, they’ll know that they could hardly have asked for more difficult quests for the UEL glory.

— Americans: Timmy Chandler of Eintracht Frankfurt (Group F), Matt Polster of Rangers (Group G), Romain Gall of Malmo (Group C), Chris Gloster of PSV Eindhoven (Group G).

Group A: Sevilla, APOEL Nicosia, Qarabag, F91 Dudelange

Group B: Dynamo Kiev, Copenhagen, Malmo, Lugano

Group C: Basel, Krasnodar, Getafe, Trabzonspor

Group D: Sporting Lisbon, PSV Eindhoven, Rosenborg, LASK

Group E: Lazio, Celtic, Rennes, CFR Cluj

Group F: Arsenal, Eintracht Frankfurt, Standard Liege, Vitoria SC

Group G: Porto, Young Boys, Feyenoord, Rangers

Group H: CSKA Moscow, Ludogorets Razgrad, Espanyol, Ferencvaros

Group I: Wolfsburg, Gent, Saint-Etienne, Olexandriya

Group J: Roma, Borussia Monchengladbach, Istanbul Basaksehir, Wolfsberg

Group K: Besiktas, Braga, Wolves, Slovan Bratislava,

Group L: Manchester UnitedAstana, Partizan Belgrade, AZ Alkmaar

Live, Europa League: Wolves, Celtic, Rangers one step from group stage

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Wolverhampton Wanderers are 90 minutes away from reaching the UEFA Europa League group stage.

Nuno Espirito Santo‘s team have negotiated two previous qualifying rounds and they lead Torino 3-2 heading into the second leg of their playoff round clash at Molineux on Thursday.

[ LIVE: Europa League scores  ]

Glasgow Celtic and Rangers are both looking good to advance to the group stage too, with Steven Gerrard‘s Rangers hosting Legia Warsaw at Ibrox locked at 0-0 and Neil Lennon’s Celtic taking a 2-0 lead to Swedish side AIK.

Some other big teams are in Europa League playoff action on Thursday, as PSV Eindhoven, Eintracht Frankfurt, Espanyol and Feyenoord all battle to reach the group stage.

Click on the link above to follow all of the action live, while below is the schedule for the Europa League playoff games on Thursday.

We will have you covered on Wolves’ European adventure here on Pro Soccer Talk with reaction and analysis.


Thursday’s Europa League playoff round first legs

Qarabag v. Linfield (2-3)
Riga v. Copenhagen (1-3)
POAK v. Slovan Bratislava (0-1)
AIK v. Celtic  (0-2)
BATE Borisov v. Astana (3-0)
Bnei Yehuda v. Malmo (0-3)
Molde v. Partizan (1-2)
PSV Eindhoven v. Limassol (0-3)
Wolverhampton Wanderers v. Torino (3-2)
Rangers v. Legia Warsaw (0-0)
Eintracht Frankfurt v. Strasbourg (0-1)
Zorya v. Espanyol (1-3)
Hapoel Be’er Sheva v. Feyenoord (0-3)
Vitoria v. Steaua Bucharest (0-0)
Maribor v. Ludogorets (0-0)
Ferencvaros v. FK Suduva (0-0)
Rijeka v. Gent (1-2)
Dudelange v. Avan Academy (1-2)
Antwerp v. AZ Alkmaar (1-1)
Spartak Moscow v. Braga (1-0)
Trabzonspor v. AEK Athens (3-1)

UEL Recap: Wolves earn huge road victory, and more

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Wolverhampton Wanderers has one proverbial foot back in a European competition, potentially breaking a 40-year drought for the club.

Wolves defeated Torino on the road, 3-2, in the first leg match between the two sides on Thursday at the Stadio Olimpico Grande Torino. Mexican international Raul Jimenez continued his red-hot form with another goal, while Diogo Jota scored as well for Wolves.

The Premier League side took the lead late in the first half thanks to an own goal, as Gleison Bremer headed in a Wolves free kick expertly into the side netting. Jota then added the second for Wolves in the 59th minute after an individual moment of brilliance from Adama Traore down the right side of the box, completely bamboozling his defender.

Torino’s Lorenzo di Silvestre answered just two minutes later off a late run into the box and a powerful header, but Jimenez then gave Wolves another two-goal advantage, as well as another crucial away goal. Jimenez ran with the ball from midfield and with Nicolas N’Koulou retreating, Jimenez took the space and scored.

Torino striker Andrea Belotti gave the Italians some late hope with a penalty kick goal in the 89th minute, but it wasn’t enough to complete the comeback. Anything but a defeat by more than two goals for Wolves will be enough for the club to make it to the Europa League group stage.

Here’s more results from around the Europa League on Thursday afternoon:


Celtic top AIK at home

The Scottish champions appear to have brushed off the disappointment of exiting the UEFA Champions League with a solid 2-0 win at Celtic Park against AIK Solna on Thursday evening.

James Forrest scored the opener for Celtic, taking advantage of a ricochet on the edge of the box to unleash a strike that AIK goalkeeper Oscar Linner couldn’t parry away. Odsonne Edouard then put the icing on the cake with a tremendous free kick from 30-yards out to give Celtic it’s 2-0 lead.

Neil Lennon’s side then held off AIK late to secure the shutout.

Thursday’s Europa League Playoff Round first leg qualifying matches:


Astana 3-0 BATE
Ararat Armenia 2-1 F91 Dudelange
Malmo FF 3-0 Bnei Yehudah Tel Aviv
Suduva 0-0 Ferencvaros
Feyenoord 3-0 Hapoel Be’er Sheva
Ludogorets 0-0 Maribor
FC Copenhagen 2-1 Riga
AEK Athens 1-3 Trabzonspor
Legia Warsaw 0-0 Rangers

UCL Wrap: Celtic shocked, Ajax advance

Leave a comment

Celtic will miss out on the UEFA Champions League group stages – and that sweet sweet television, sponsorship and ticket revenue – for the second consecutive year.

The Bhoys in Green suffered a stunning 4-3 defeat at home to CFR Cluj, coughing up a second half 3-2 (and 4-3 on aggregate) lead in the process at Celtic Park on Tuesday evening. Coming off a 1-1 draw in Romania, Celtic trailed 1-0 at halftime in Scotland thanks to a header from veteran winger Ciprian Deac.

[READ: UEFA Super Cup Preview: Chelsea v. Liverpool]

However, in a ten minute span in the second half, Celtic appeared to turn around the tie. Neil Lennon’s side were more creative and attacked with more urgency after halftime, and it showed as James Forrest hammered home to tie the match on the night. Then, Celtic striker Odsonne Edouard, who’s dummy lead to the first Celtic goal, finished off a cross from new signing Hatem Abd Elhamed to send the Celtic fans into pure delirium.

Celtic and Cluj then traded goals, with Billel Omrani scoring a penalty kick before Ryan Christie’s 76th minute strike put Celtic ahead again. Unfortunately for Celtic, it was short lived. Omrani scored again in the 80th minute and George Țucudean scored on a breakaway to put Celtic away and help advance the Romanian side to the Play-Off Round.

Here’s a roundup of the rest of the UCL results across Europe.


Ajax outlast PAOK

Two penalty kick goals from Ajax captain Dusan Tadic helped the Champions League semifinalists from a year ago advance to the next round of qualifying.

Tadic scored on either side of halftime, including an 85th minute goal that helped put just enough distance as Ajax won, 3-2 over PAOK, winning 5-4 on aggregate. Diego Biseswar, born in Amsterdam and a one-time member of Ajax’s youth academy, scored a brace, including the opening goal for his side on the road.

After Tadic tied it two minutes before halftime, PAOK pushed for another, but defender Nicolas Tagliafico headed home in the 79th minute and Tadic again extended the lead six minutes later. Biseswar scored in stoppage time to give PAOK some hope, but they ran out of time.

With the win, Ajax advances to face APOEL in the next round.

Tuesday’s UEFA Champions League scores (aggregate scores in parenthesis): 

Qarabag 0-2 APOEL (2-3)
Rosenborg 3-1 Maribor (6-2)
Dynamo Kiev 3-3 Club Brugge (3-4)
FC Copenhagen 1-1 Red Star Belgrade (2-2, Red Star wins 7-6 on penalty kicks)
Ferencvaros 0-4 Dinamo Zagreb (1-5)
LASK 3-1 Basel (5-2)
Olympiakos 2-0 Istanbul Basaksehir (3-0)
FC Porto 2-3 Krasnodar (3-3, Krasnodar advances on away goals)