Europa League - Group H
LilleLille2CelticCeltic2

Lille 2-2 Celtic: Visitors let slip two-goal lead

Two goals from Mohamed Elyounoussi (right) had Celtic in command at the break
Two goals from Mohamed Elyounoussi (right) had Celtic in command at the break

Celtic can "take a lot of positives" despite letting slip a two-goal lead in their Europa League draw in Lille, says manager Neil Lennon.

Mohamed Elyounoussi's outstanding first-half double - and a Scott Bain penalty save - had Celtic on track for a first win in four games.

But the hosts hit back with goals from Zeki Celik and Jonathan Ikone as Celtic held on for a first point in Group H.

"I'm delighted with the character the players showed," said Lennon.

"We played really well. We got fatigued as the game went on and you could see the effects Covid has had on a few players.

"It says a lot when you come here and are disappointed not to win."

Celtic's task looked daunting against a Lille side keeping pace with big-spending Paris St-Germain at the top of Ligue 1.

After surviving a shaky start, Lennon's men began to dominate. Albian Ajeti was in the thick of it. The Swiss striker had a goal correctly ruled out for offside then blazed over six yards out from a Ryan Christie cutback.

Celtic's opener, though, was worth the wait. Ajeti punished Celik's heavy touch on the right flank as he stole possession with a backheel flick that sent Elyounoussi racing into space. The Norwegian's finish, curled into the far corner of the net from 25 yards, was exquisite.

His second wasn't bad either. Jeremie Frimpong dashed down the right then picked out Elyounoussi amid a ruck of Lille players in the penalty box, with his cushioned first-time shot creeping in at the far corner.

Bain - deputising for Vasilias Barkas - denied the hosts a lifeline after Shane Duffy clipped the heels of Jonathan David. The contact looked a yard outside the box, but Bain made it a moot point as he stuck out a leg to stop David's penalty down the middle.

The keeper had earned the good fortune that came his way moments later as he spilled a simple ball into the box and Sven Botman knocked it on to the top of the crossbar.

The second half was all about survival for Celtic as Lille dominated. After centre-back Kristoffer Ajer was forced off injured, Celik sneaked in at the back post to meet Adama Soumaoro's flick-on from a corner and bundle home.

The Scottish champions had fleeting breakaways at the other end, but their lead was wiped out 15 minutes from time when Ikone's drive deflected off Duffy.

Man of the match - Mohamed Elyounoussi

The Norwegian winger's superbly-taken goals capped an impressive individual display
The Norwegian winger's superbly-taken goals capped an impressive individual display

What did we learn?

Celtic are now on their longest run without victory since 2014, yet this draw may well mark a turning point. Lennon's team looked much more like the free-flowing side of last season as they attacked with verve and flair in a thrilling first half.

And even though their lead disintegrated, Celtic dug in to make sure they did not leave empty-handed. The return of Odsonne Edouard and Nir Bitton as substitutes after recovering from Covid-19 also strengthens Lennon's options for a crucial run of fixtures at home and abroad.

What did they say?

Celtic manager Neil Lennon: "I was delighted with our approach to the game. First half we were outstanding and on the counter-attack we could have won the game."

'We played really well' - Lennon

What the stats say

  • Lille are winless in their past 13 European matches (including qualifiers) on home soil (D6 L7) since August 2012.
  • Away from home in the Europa League, Celtic have only managed to wins two of their 23 matches (D11 L10).
  • Celtic have lost just one of their past 11 away matches in all European competition (W6 D4), going unbeaten in the last four such games.
  • Lille have failed to keep a clean sheet in European competition in each of their last 13 matches, since a 0-0 draw with Everton in October 2014.
  • Celtic's Mohamed Elyounoussi has scored with three of his four shots on target in the Europa League this season.

What's next?

Celtic head to Hampden Park on Sunday for a Scottish Cup semi-final against Aberdeen (14:30 GMT) delayed from last season.

Line-ups

Lille

  • 16Maignan
  • 2Zeki Çelik
  • 25Soumaoro
  • 5Botman
  • 29Bradaric
  • 10Ikoné
  • 21AndréBooked at 41minsSubstituted forRenato Sanchesat 63'minutes
  • 24Soumaré
  • 7BambaSubstituted forde Araújo Guimarães Netoat 63'minutes
  • 12YaziciSubstituted forWeahat 82'minutes
  • 9DavidSubstituted forYilmazat 64'minutes

Substitutes

  • 1Karnezis
  • 3Embaló Djaló
  • 6José Fonte
  • 8da Silva Rocha
  • 11de Araújo Guimarães Neto
  • 17Yilmaz
  • 18Renato Sanches
  • 19Lihadji
  • 22Weah
  • 26Pied
  • 28Mandava
  • 30Chevalier

Celtic

  • 29BainBooked at 52mins
  • 30Frimpong
  • 4Duffy
  • 35AjerSubstituted forBittonat 53'minutes
  • 93LaxaltBooked at 73mins
  • 8BrownSubstituted forSoroat 81'minutes
  • 42McGregor
  • 17ChristieSubstituted forRogicat 81'minutes
  • 21NtchamBooked at 22minsSubstituted forWelshat 82'minutes
  • 27ElyounoussiBooked at 84mins
  • 10AjetiBooked at 64minsSubstituted forEdouardat 64'minutes

Substitutes

  • 1Barkas
  • 3Taylor
  • 6Bitton
  • 9Griffiths
  • 11Klimala
  • 12Soro
  • 14Turnbull
  • 18Rogic
  • 22Edouard
  • 52Henderson
  • 57Welsh
  • 77Dembele
Referee:
Aleksandar Stavrev

Match Stats

Home TeamLilleAway TeamCeltic
Possession
Home71%
Away29%
Shots
Home21
Away9
Shots on Target
Home6
Away3
Corners
Home12
Away0
Fouls
Home9
Away19

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Lille 2, Celtic 2.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Lille 2, Celtic 2.

  3. Post update

    Corner, Lille. Conceded by Shane Duffy.

  4. Post update

    Attempt missed. Jeremie Frimpong (Celtic) right footed shot from the right side of the box is high and wide to the right. Assisted by Diego Laxalt.

  5. Post update

    Foul by Luiz Araújo (Lille).

  6. Post update

    Mohamed Elyounoussi (Celtic) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  7. Post update

    Corner, Lille. Conceded by Nir Bitton.

  8. Post update

    Boubakary Soumaré (Lille) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  9. Post update

    Foul by Ismaila Soro (Celtic).

  10. Booking

    Mohamed Elyounoussi (Celtic) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  11. Post update

    Sven Botman (Lille) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  12. Post update

    Foul by Mohamed Elyounoussi (Celtic).

  13. Substitution

    Substitution, Lille. Timothy Weah replaces Yusuf Yazici.

  14. Substitution

    Substitution, Celtic. Stephen Welsh replaces Olivier Ntcham.

  15. Substitution

    Substitution, Celtic. Tomas Rogic replaces Ryan Christie.

  16. Substitution

    Substitution, Celtic. Ismaila Soro replaces Scott Brown.

  17. Post update

    Attempt saved. Mohamed Elyounoussi (Celtic) left footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the top left corner. Assisted by Callum McGregor.

  18. Post update

    Domagoj Bradaric (Lille) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  19. Post update

    Foul by Odsonne Edouard (Celtic).

  20. Post update

    Attempt saved. Boubakary Soumaré (Lille) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Yusuf Yazici.

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As It Stood

A

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1CFR Cluj21103124
2Roma21102114
3Young Boys201123-11
4CSKA Sofia201102-21

B

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Arsenal22005146
2Molde22003126
3Rapid Vienna200213-20
4Dundalk200215-40

C

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1B Leverkusen21016333
2Hapoel Be'er Sheva21013213
3Slavia Prague210123-13
4Nice210136-33

D

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Benfica22007256
2Rangers22003036
3Lech Poznan200225-30
4Standard Liege200205-50

E

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Granada21102114
2PSV Eindhoven21013303
3PAOK Salonika20201102
4Omonia Nicosia201123-11

F

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1AZ Alkmaar22005146
2Napoli21011103
3Real Sociedad21011103
4HNK Rijeka200215-40

G

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Leicester22005146
2Sporting Braga22005146
3Zorya Luhansk200215-40
4AEK Athens200215-40

H

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1AC Milan22006156
2Lille21106334
3Celtic201135-21
4Sparta Prague200217-60

I

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Villarreal22008446
2Maccabi Tel-Aviv22003126
3Sivasspor200247-30
4FK Qarabag200214-30

J

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Royal Antwerp22003126
2Tottenham21013123
3LASK210146-23
4Ludogorets200246-20

K

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1RZ Pellets WAC21105234
2CSKA Moscow20201102
3Dinamo Zagreb20200002
4Feyenoord201114-31

L

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Hoffenheim22006156
2Red Star Belgrade21015323
3Slovan Liberec210125-33
4KAA Gent200215-40
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