Champions League: James Forrest scores as Celtic draw against Cluj

James Forrest’s equaliser affords Celtic a extraordinarily major away plan ahead of next week’s 2d leg

Celtic survived a nervy evening in Cluj as they returned to Glasgow with an away plan and a plot in their Champions League qualifier with CFR Cluj.

On a disturbing evening defensively, the Romanians threatened to homicide lifestyles subtle for Neil Lennon’s facet.

Mario Rondon had given Cluj the lead but James Forrest equalised earlier than the fracture with a precious strike.

Celtic will shuffle into next week’s 2d leg as favourites to satisfy Slavia Prague within the play-off spherical.

However Lennon can have concerns over how they were uncovered down the left, with an Arsenal-sure Kieran Tierney, and Scott Sinclair, every lacking.

Scott Bain thwarted Cluj on a broad different of events on a busy evening for the Celtic goalkeeper.

Forrest quality affords Celtic advantage

Pre-match, Cluj supervisor Dan Petrescu urged his facet needed a miracle to qualify, nevertheless it used to be glaring from kick-off that wasn’t the message he had given his crew. They examined the Celtic defence with a string of crosses and region-pieces, and were impressed to check the company down their left-hand facet.

Tierney and Sinclair would possibly maybe well have played their final video games for Celtic, with a £25m fee agreed with Arsenal for the used. Their absence presented alternatives to Lewis Morgan and Boli Bolingoli. Even supposing they had started Champions League qualifiers this season, due to what used to be at stake this tie used to be the top check of their short Celtic careers.

However every struggled, deciding on up first-half yellow playing cards and being culpable as Cluj turned their early strain precise into a lead.

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Because the hosts broke from a Celtic corner, used St Mirren winger Morgan missed an interception, and the pitch opened up on the upright-hand facet. Rondon used to be played onside by a slumbering Bolingoli, and after beating the Belgian for scoot he then coolly accomplished by the legs of Bain.

All of a surprising flashbacks to outdated nights when Celtic had attain unstuck in qualifying sprang to mind. However honest whenever you concept they were in ache, Forrest breathed lifestyles support into the company.

Final season’s Player of the one year played a one-two with Hatem Elhamed, took a step on to his left foot and drove in a low shot off the interior put up.

And Forrest used to be one player the hosts would possibly maybe well no longer pin down. A 2d-half escape across the face of the Cluj field accomplished with a pinging low shot that used to be no longer too distant from giving Celtic a dream end result in take grasp of home.

Celtic would possibly maybe well have felt they must silent have played the final 25 minutes in opposition to 10 men, with Scott Brown scythed down by Mateo Susic, but the referee elected to effect simplest a yellow.

The game swung from stay to stay as every groups made it decided they weren’t there to determine for a plot.

Bolingoli, Kristoffer Ajer and Odsonne Edouard all headed broad for Celtic, but then Alexandru Paun unleashed a highly efficient effort which Bain couldn’t take care of, and George Tucudean scooped the rebound over the bar.

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Within the tip this could maybe additionally be Celtic who will be happier to have left a worldly first leg in Romania as a lot as speed of the qualifier.

Mario Rondon gave Cluj the lead

Brown steals the effect – diagnosis

BBC Scotland’s Brian McLaughlin

The importance of scoring dreams in away ties in Europe has been evident all by the years, and the strike from Forrest honest six minutes after going at the support of would possibly maybe well camouflage major if Celtic are to growth to the final Champions League qualifying stage.

There used to be loads to admire about this efficiency from Lennon’s facet with Forrest, alongside with striker Edouard, a constant threat to the Cluj defence.

Morgan used to be a shock inclusion due to the misery to Mikey Johnson, and the 22-one year-frequent place in a inspiring shift down the left flank unless he used to get replaced by Olivier Ntcham with 25 minutes left.

The Celtic centre-support pairing of Jozo Simunovic and Ajer were additionally forced every so often with Rondon keeping them on their toes, on the opposite hand left-support Bolingoli will must sharpen up if he needs to take care of his space within the support four.

However it completely used to be captain Brown who stole the effect for Celtic. In what every so often used to be an intimidating ambiance he had some needed interventions in midfield, breaking up the home ****** and then finding a hunting shuffle placing the home facet on the support foot.

There must be few surprises for Celtic next week as Cluj boss Petrescu no longer regularly alters his form of play a long way from home. And Cluj have shown they know the formula to plan on the road having scored in four of their final 5 away video games in Europe alongside side a double in opposition to Maccabi Tel Aviv final week.

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