Champions League - Qualifying Third Round - 1st Leg
CFR Cluj1Celtic1

Champions League: James Forrest scores as Celtic draw against Cluj

James Forrest scores for Celtic
James Forrest's equaliser gives Celtic a crucial away goal ahead of next week's second leg

Celtic survived a nervy night as they returned to Glasgow with an away goal and a draw from their Champions League qualifier with CFR Cluj.

On a tense evening defensively, the Romanians threatened to make life difficult for Neil Lennon's side.

Mario Rondon gave Cluj the lead but James Forrest equalised before the break with a precious strike.

Celtic will go into next week's second leg as favourites to meet Slavia Prague in the play-off round.

But Lennon will have concerns over how they were exposed down the left, with an Arsenal-bound Kieran Tierney, and Scott Sinclair, both missing.

Scott Bain thwarted Cluj on numerous occasions on a busy evening for the Celtic goalkeeper.

Forrest quality gives Celtic advantage

Pre-match, Cluj manager Dan Petrescu suggested his side needed a miracle to qualify, but it was obvious from kick-off that wasn't the message he had given his team. They tested the Celtic defence with a string of crosses and set-pieces, and were encouraged to test the visitors down their left-hand side.

Tierney and Sinclair may have played their final games for Celtic, with a £25m fee agreed with Arsenal for the former. Their absence presented opportunities to Lewis Morgan and Boli Bolingoli. Although they had started Champions League qualifiers this season, due to what was at stake this tie was the biggest test of their short Celtic careers.

But both struggled, picking up first-half yellow cards and being culpable as Cluj turned their early pressure into a lead.

As the hosts broke from a Celtic corner, former St Mirren winger Morgan missed an interception, and the pitch opened up on the right-hand side. Rondon was played onside by a sleeping Bolingoli, and after beating the Belgian for pace he then coolly finished through the legs of Bain.

All of a sudden flashbacks to previous nights when Celtic had come unstuck in qualifying sprang to mind. But just when you thought they were in trouble, Forrest breathed life back into the visitors.

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'If Tierney goes, he goes with everyone's best wishes'

Last season's Player of the Year played a one-two with Hatem Elhamed, took a step on to his left foot and drove in a low shot off the inside post.

And Forrest was one player the hosts could not pin down. A second-half run across the face of the Cluj box finished with a pinging low shot that was not too far away from giving Celtic a dream lead to take home.

Celtic may have felt they should have played the last 25 minutes against 10 men, with Scott Brown scythed down by Mateo Susic, but the referee elected to show only a yellow.

The game swung from end to end as both teams made it clear they weren't there to settle for a draw.

Bolingoli, Kristoffer Ajer and Odsonne Edouard all headed wide for Celtic, but then Alexandru Paun unleashed a powerful effort which Bain couldn't hold, and George Tucudean scooped the rebound over the bar.

In the end it will be Celtic who will be happier to have left a difficult first leg in Romania in control of the qualifier.

Mario Rondon gave Cluj the lead
Mario Rondon gave Cluj the lead

Brown steals the show - analysis

BBC Scotland's Brian McLauchlin

The importance of scoring goals in away ties in Europe has been evident throughout the years, and the strike from Forrest just six minutes after going behind could prove vital if Celtic are to progress to the final Champions League qualifying stage.

There was plenty to like about this performance from Lennon's side with Forrest, along with striker Edouard, a constant threat to the Cluj defence.

Morgan was a surprise inclusion due to the injury to Mikey Johnson, and the 22-year-old put in a fair shift down the left flank until he was replaced by Olivier Ntcham with 25 minutes left.

The Celtic centre-back pairing of Jozo Simunovic and Ajer were also pressured on occasion with Rondon keeping them on their toes, however left-back Bolingoli will need to sharpen up if he wants to retain his place in the back four.

But it was captain Brown who stole the show for Celtic. In what at times was an intimidating atmosphere he had some crucial interventions in midfield, breaking up the home attack and then finding a searching pass putting the home side on the back foot.

There should be few surprises for Celtic next week as Cluj boss Petrescu rarely alters his style of play away from home. And Cluj have shown they know the way to goal on the road having scored in four of their last five away games in Europe including a double against Maccabi Tel Aviv last week.

Line-ups

CFR Cluj

  • 87Arlauskis
  • 16SusicBooked at 64mins
  • 55Vinícius De Souza
  • 3Burca
  • 45Malino Paulino
  • 10Deac
  • 6Coimbra AurélioBooked at 34mins
  • 37BordeianuBooked at 25mins
  • 8Djokovic
  • 99RondónSubstituted forTucudeanat 75'minutes
  • 9OmraniSubstituted forPaun Alexandruat 66'minutes

Substitutes

  • 5Sylla
  • 7Paun Alexandru
  • 12Vatca
  • 18Costache
  • 20Tucudean
  • 25Butean
  • 92Cestor

Celtic

  • 29Bain
  • 35Ajer
  • 33ElhamedSubstituted forBittonat 87'minutesBooked at 90mins
  • 5SimunovicSubstituted forJullienat 74'minutes
  • 23Bolingoli-MbomboBooked at 30mins
  • 49Forrest
  • 8Brown
  • 42McGregor
  • 17Christie
  • 22Edouard
  • 16MorganBooked at 42minsSubstituted forNtchamat 67'minutes

Substitutes

  • 1Gordon
  • 2Jullien
  • 6Bitton
  • 9Griffiths
  • 15Hayes
  • 20Shved
  • 21Ntcham
Referee:
Srdjan Jovanovic
Attendance:
13,055

Match Stats

Home TeamCFR ClujAway TeamCeltic
Possession
Home50%
Away50%
Shots
Home1
Away1
Shots on Target
Home1
Away1
Corners
Home0
Away0
Fouls
Home0
Away0

Live Text

Match ends, CFR Cluj 1, Celtic 1.

Full Time

Second Half ends, CFR Cluj 1, Celtic 1.

Booking

Nir Bitton (Celtic) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Substitution

Substitution, Celtic. Nir Bitton replaces Hatem Elhamed.

Substitution

Substitution, CFR Cluj. George Tucudean replaces Mario Rondón.

Substitution

Substitution, Celtic. Christopher Jullien replaces Jozo Simunovic.

Substitution

Substitution, Celtic. Olivier Ntcham replaces Lewis Morgan.

Substitution

Substitution, CFR Cluj. Constantin Adrian Paun Alexandru replaces Abdel Billel Omrani.

Booking

Mateo Susic (CFR Cluj) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Second Half

Second Half begins CFR Cluj 1, Celtic 1.

Half Time

First Half ends, CFR Cluj 1, Celtic 1.

Booking

Lewis Morgan (Celtic) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Goal!

Goal! CFR Cluj 1, Celtic 1. James Forrest (Celtic) left footed shot from the centre of the box to the centre of the goal. Assisted by Hatem Elhamed.

Booking

Luís Aurélio (CFR Cluj) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Booking

Boli Bolingoli-Mbombo (Celtic) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Goal!

Goal! CFR Cluj 1, Celtic 0. Mario Rondón (CFR Cluj) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the centre of the goal. Assisted by Ciprian Deac.

Booking

Mihai Bordeianu (CFR Cluj) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Kick Off

First Half begins.

Lineups are announced and players are warming up.

goal

Scores, Results & Fixtures

Wednesday 7th August 2019

  • CFR ClujCFR Cluj1CelticCeltic1
  • FK KrasnodarFK Krasnodar0FC PortoFC Porto1
  • Istanbul BasaksehirIstanbul Basaksehir0OlympiakosOlympiakos1
  • FC BaselFC Basel1LASKLASK2
  • NK MariborNK Maribor1RosenborgRosenborg3

As It Stood

A

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1B Dortmund6411102813
2Atl Madrid641196313
3Club Bruges61326516
4Monaco6015214-121

B

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Barcelona6420145914
2Tottenham6222910-18
3Inter Milan622267-18
4PSV Eindhoven6024613-72

C

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1PSG6321179811
2Liverpool63039729
3Napoli62317529
4Red Star Belgrade6114517-124

D

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1FC Porto6510156916
2Schalke632164211
3Galatasaray611458-34
4Lokomotiv Moscow6105412-83

E

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Bayern Munich64201551014
2Ajax6330115612
3Benfica6213611-57
4AEK Athens6006213-110

F

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Man City64111661013
2Lyon6150121118
3Shakhtar Donetsk6132816-86
4Hoffenheim60331114-33

G

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Real Madrid6402125712
2Roma630311839
3Viktoria Plzen6213716-97
4CSKA Moscow621389-17

H

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Juventus640294512
2Man Utd631274310
3Valencia62226608
4Young Boys6114412-84
View full Champions League tables

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