Celtic 1-3 Milan: Rossoneri extend winning run in Glasgow

By Sports Desk October 22, 2020

Rade Krunic opened his Milan goalscoring account as the in-form Serie A giants won 3-1 at Celtic in their Europa League Group H opener.

Bosnian midfielder Krunic headed the first and Brahim Diaz scored a neat second for the Rossoneri, before Jens Hauge added a late third, as they produced an efficient performance in Glasgow against the Scottish champions.

With Celtic reeling from a derby defeat to Rangers and weakened by a string of injuries, this match always looked unlikely to provide the succour for which they were hoping.

Milan were so in charge that Zlatan Ibrahimovic could effectively stroll through 65 minutes before being replaced, but they were hanging on after Mohamed Elyounoussi's header gave the hosts a surprise foothold, until Hauge made sure.

Celtic wanted an early penalty when Albian Ajeti's shot hit Alessio Romagnoli, but it did not look to strike the Milan captain's hand, and Olivier Ntcham's follow-up strike was tame.

It was downhill from there for the hosts, with Milan snatching a 14th-minute lead when Samu Castillejo sent in a teasing cross from the right and former Empoli man Krunic headed beyond the dive of goalkeeper Vasilios Barkas, finding the left corner.

Jeremie Frimpong was at times lively for Celtic on the right, but Milan are eager to make their presence felt in this competition, despite having only edged into the group stage after beating Rio Ave 9-8 on penalties in their play-off.

Diaz got the second goal for Stefano Pioli's men in the 42nd minute, taking a pass from Theo Hernandez and showing nimble footwork before burying a low shot into the left corner.

Uruguayan winger Diego Laxalt sent a shot a yard over the Milan crossbar early in the second half as Celtic searched for a way back into the game.

Ryan Christie's corner was nodded in by fellow substitute Elyounoussi in the 76th minute to give the hosts hope, but Milan were in no mood to be denied and Hauge finished well from Alexis Saelemaekers' pass in stoppage time.

Related items

  • We'll take the plane or bus - Guardiola relaxed as Istanbul Champions League final is placed in flux We'll take the plane or bus - Guardiola relaxed as Istanbul Champions League final is placed in flux

    Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola is unconcerned over where the Champions League final will take place amid fresh doubts over whether the showpiece will take place in Istanbul.

    City beat Paris Saint-Germain 2-0 in midweek to close out a 4-1 aggregate triumph and book their place in a maiden Champions League final.

    Chelsea ensured it would be an all-English affair as they overcame Real Madrid by the same scoreline on Wednesday at Stamford Bridge to prevail 3-1 on aggregate.

    The make-up of the final already led to speculation over whether the match might be moved, given Turkey is currently under lockdown due to spiking COVID-19 rates as the UK loosens restrictions thanks in part to a successful vaccine roll out.

    UEFA insisted it was committed to the game remaining at the Ataturk Stadium but the situation became more complicated on Friday when the UK government added Turkey to its travel "red list".

    That means anyone travelling to the country – including fans, players and staff from both clubs – must quarantine for 10 days in government-approved hotels upon their return to the UK.

    Unless exemptions can be secured for players, this would be particularly problematic given Euro 2020 and the 2021 Copa America start on June 11, 13 days after the Champions League final.

    The change in status is effective from May 17, the same day Turkey's own national lockdown is set to end, and will not be reviewed for three weeks, meaning there is no prospect of a change in the UK government stance before the final.

    UEFA is in discussions with the Football Association (FA) over the next steps, with Villa Park touted as a potential alternative venue as Wembley is slated to host the Championship play-off final on May 29.

    "I'm pretty sure UEFA will decide the best for everyone," Guardiola said, speaking prior to the UK government decision.

    "If we go to Istanbul, it will be a pleasure. I think the situation depends on the pandemic there but if they decide to move on or stay here in this country or another place, we'll take the plane or the bus and we will be there."

    Stats Perform News understands City will await further guidance from UEFA over the Champions League final venue and will not lobby for the game to be moved to a stadium on home soil.

    City host Chelsea on Saturday in a dress rehearsal for the final, knowing victory at the Etihad Stadium will secure a third Premier League crown in four seasons with three games to spare.

    However, Guardiola insists that would not be a cue to rest the players who have established themselves as a settled first XI in European matches.

    The Catalan's often-repeated mantra of players needing to be in "rhythm" will not be allowed to slide with a defining night on the horizon.

    "I want to be honest, the players will not be rested to think about the Champions League final," Guardiola said.

    "Now we have a period of six days [between] Chelsea [and the trip to] Newcastle, so now the schedule is a little bit more fresh.

    "Now it's time to try to… it's in our hands and we don't depend on other results to win the Premier League as quickly as possible. It won't be easy because of the opponent we have.

    "It's not necessary to tell them to be focused on the last game of the season because nobody in the club has been there before apart from Ilkay [Gundogan], who played in the [2013 Champions League] final. The rest, everyone will be so focused to arrive in this final in the best condition possible."

    After their trip to St James' Park, City face Brighton and Hove Albion at the Amex Stadium on May 18 before rounding out their Premier League campaign at home to Everton on May 23.

  • Lille edge closer to Ligue 1 title after cruising past Lens Lille edge closer to Ligue 1 title after cruising past Lens

    Lille took a significant stride towards the Ligue 1 title with a resounding 3-0 derby win at Lens on Friday. 

    The result – a fifth win in their last six league games – moved them four points clear of second-place Paris Saint-Germain, although Mauricio Pochettino's side can restore the one-point deficit with victory over Rennes on Sunday. 

    Should the reigning Ligue 1 champions lose, Christophe Galtier's side can seal a first league triumph since the 2010-11 season against Saint-Etienne in their penultimate game of the campaign on May 16. 

    Burak Yilmaz got them on their way in the fourth minute, slotting home from the penalty spot after Jonathan Bamba had been fouled in the area by Seko Fofana. 

    Clement Michelin received a second yellow card for the hosts in the 35th minute, with Yilmaz scoring his second five minutes later courtesy of a stunning 25-yard strike into the top-left corner. 

    Jonathan David added a third on the hour mark as Lille cranked up the pressure on PSG, whose run of three straight league titles is in grave danger of coming to an end.

  • Nine Super League clubs welcomed back by UEFA but Juventus, Barcelona and Real Madrid given stern warning Nine Super League clubs welcomed back by UEFA but Juventus, Barcelona and Real Madrid given stern warning

    Nine of the clubs involved in the proposed European Super League have escaped a possible ban from the Champions League and Europa League after being welcomed back by UEFA.

    The Premier League's 'big six' and Milan, Inter and Atletico Madrid have affirmed their commitment to UEFA competitions after acknowledging "the Super League project was a mistake" and apologising "to fans, national associations, national leagues, fellow European clubs and UEFA".

    All nine clubs must abide by a set of "reintegration measures" in order to be allowed back into the UEFA fold.

    These include commitments to UEFA Statutes and to competing in existing UEFA competitions for which they qualify, rejoining the European Club Association and taking "all steps within their power" to terminate their involvement in the company established to run the Super League.

    The clubs will also contribute to a €15million goodwill fund to be used for youth and grassroots football in Europe, while they will see five per cent of UEFA club competition revenues withheld for one season. UEFA says that revenue money will also be redistributed.

    Should any of the nine clubs attempt a similar breakaway in future, they will be fined €100m. Breaching any other aspect of the Club Commitment Declaration – the agreement signed to enable their return to UEFA competitions – will incur a fine of €50m.

    Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea, Arsenal, Tottenham, Liverpool, Milan, Inter and Atletico all renounced the Super League following significant opposition from fans, players and sponsors over their proposed involvement.

    However, Real Madrid, Barcelona and Juventus have so far refused to follow suit and all three could now face strong punishment by UEFA, with the matter referred to disciplinary bodies.

    UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin said: "I said at the UEFA Congress two weeks ago that it takes a strong organisation to admit making a mistake especially in these days of trial by social media. These clubs have done just that.
     
    "In accepting their commitments and willingness to repair the disruption they caused, UEFA wants to put this chapter behind it and move forward in a positive spirit. 
     
    "The measures announced are significant, but none of the financial penalties will be retained by UEFA. They will all be reinvested into youth and grassroots football in local communities across Europe, including the UK. 
     
    "These clubs recognised their mistakes quickly and have taken action to demonstrate their contrition and future commitment to European football. The same cannot be said for the clubs that remain involved in the so-called 'Super League' and UEFA will deal with those clubs subsequently."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.