Europa League - Group H
AC MilanAC Milan4CelticCeltic2

AC Milan 4-2 Celtic: Italian side come from two goals down to win

By Thomas DuncanBBC Scotland
Samu Castillejo equalises for AC Milan at San Siro
Samu Castillejo equalises for AC Milan at San Siro

Celtic lost a two-goal lead at San Siro as AC Milan fought back to inflict the Scottish champions' fourth Europa League defeat in five games.

Impressive finishes from Tom Rogic and Odsonne Edouard had struggling Celtic in control after 14 minutes following a vibrant start by Neil Lennon's under-pressure side.

But by the 26th minute, Milan were level through Hakan Calhangolu's free-kick and Samu Castillejo, before Jens Petter Hauge and Brahim Diaz put them into the last 32 with a game to spare.

Top seeds Celtic, who have just one point from five Group H matches, already knew they could not progress prior to kick-off, and have now won just twice in their last 11 games in all competitions.

Thirteen months ago, Lennon's side completed a double over a team fighting for the Serie A title - Lazio - to secure a last-32 spot with two games to spare.

The fact a narrow loss against a similar opponent is now considered an improvement shows the scale of their drop off since.

That night in Rome against Lazio could be considered the high point of Lennon's second spell in charge, and what he was looking for at San Siro was for his players to show some sign that those heights are not only a thing of the past.

For 20 minutes, they did just that. Rogic's opener was a gift as Rade Krunic's heavy touch allowed the Australian to steal the ball on the edge of the box, but his control and low left-foot finish beyond Gianluigi Donnarumma was superb.

Edouard's delicate lift over the Italian goalkeeper was just as impressive as he latched on to Ryan Christie's pinpoint pass, and it was fully deserved as Callum McGregor and Rogic both went close just prior.

But the high-tempo start was destroyed by Celtic's familiar Achilles heel - their defending.

Group H table

First, Christie needlessly hacked down Krunic on the edge of the box, which allowed Calhanoglu to curl into the net from the resulting free-kick. Goalkeeper Vasilis Barkas again failed to convince as he barely moved towards the area he was supposed to be covering.

And within two minutes Castillejo hauled Milan level as he finished from the middle of the box after Hauge's cross wasn't cleared by either Kristoffer Ajer or McGregor.

Lennon looked on in disbelief at his side's sloppiness, but it is a continuing theme. Celtic had the joint-worst defensive record in this term's Europa League before this game. They now stand alone in that regard having conceded 17 in five matches.

Hauge showed superb skill for Milan's third as he weaved in from the left before finding the far corner, but again the defending, or lack of it, from Celtic was lamentable as at least four green shirts failed to put a challenge in.

Milan are flying high at the top of Serie A, and it was always going to be a tough ask, even at 2-0 up. And the positives for Celtic are that they created more chances than they might have expected.

At 3-2, Frimpong had an effort pushed wide by Donnarumma, while Christie also forced the Italy international into a fine stop with a well-struck free-kick.

But they ended in typical fashion, as Hauge again waltzed into the box and through a meek challenge by Hatem Elhamed before setting up Diaz to loft the ball into the far corner and seal victory.

Man of the match - Jens Petter Hauge

Hauge played off the left and was a constant threat with his elegant dribbling, scoring once and helping set up another two of Milan's goals
Norwegian Hauge played off the left and was a constant threat with his elegant dribbling, scoring once and helping set up another two of Milan's goals

What did we learn?

Lennon has consistently spoken about a lack of confidence being Celtic's problem. But even with the perfect start they crumbled.

The defensive problems are about more than just belief. Team selection and formation has varied throughout the season, and here Frimpong played as a right winger, rather than full-back, presumably to relieve him of defensive duties.

He was a threat, especially, early in the game, but Hauge still found himself in acres of space on the left time and again, and he punished Celtic on three separate occasions with two assists and a goal.

Yes, Stefano Pioli's side are flying in Serie A and a narrow defeat in isolation is not a terrible result. But, from the outside at least, changes in formation and personnel are having no discernible effect on Celtic's defence. The Lazio win now seems like a lifetime ago.

Match stats

  • Milan have won their last five home matches against Celtic.
  • Celtic have won just two of their 25 away matches in the Europa League (D11 L12).
  • Since the start of 2013/14, only Lionel Messi (36) has scored more direct free-kicks among players in the top five European Leagues than Calhanoglu (18).
  • Edouard has been involved in seven goals in eight Europa League starts (5 goals, 2 assists).
  • Rogic netted his first Europa League goal in his 16th appearance in the competition.
  • There were just 121 seconds between Milan's first two goals.

What's next?

Celtic will aim to keep pace with Scottish Premiership leaders Rangers when they host St Johnstone on Sunday (15:00 GMT), followed by their last group match at home to Lille on Thursday.

Line-ups

AC Milan

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 99Donnarumma
  • 5Dalot
  • 24KjaerSubstituted forRomagnoliat 11'minutes
  • 46Gabbia
  • 19Hernández
  • 79KessiéSubstituted forBennacerat 61'minutes
  • 33KrunicSubstituted forTonaliat 45'minutes
  • 7Castillejo Azuaga
  • 10CalhanogluSubstituted forDíazat 61'minutes
  • 15Hauge
  • 12RebicSubstituted forColomboat 83'minutes

Substitutes

  • 1Tatarusanu
  • 2Calabria
  • 4Bennacer
  • 8Tonali
  • 13Romagnoli
  • 20Kalulu Kyatengwa
  • 21Díaz
  • 27Maldini
  • 29Colombo
  • 43Campos Duarte da Silva
  • 56Saelemaekers
  • 90Donnarumma

Celtic

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 1Barkas
  • 44Elhamed
  • 6Bitton
  • 35Ajer
  • 93Laxalt
  • 8BrownBooked at 75minsSubstituted forSoroat 78'minutes
  • 42McGregor
  • 30Frimpong
  • 18RogicBooked at 67minsSubstituted forNtchamat 67'minutes
  • 17ChristieBooked at 23minsSubstituted forKlimalaat 86'minutes
  • 22Edouard

Substitutes

  • 2Jullien
  • 3Taylor
  • 10Ajeti
  • 11Klimala
  • 12Soro
  • 21Ntcham
  • 29Bain
  • 52Henderson
  • 57Welsh
  • 65Hazard
Referee:
Ricardo de Burgos Bengoetxea

Match Stats

Home TeamAC MilanAway TeamCeltic
Possession
Home57%
Away43%
Shots
Home14
Away14
Shots on Target
Home6
Away6
Corners
Home6
Away2
Fouls
Home8
Away11

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Milan 4, Celtic 2.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Milan 4, Celtic 2.

  3. Post update

    Attempt saved. Jeremie Frimpong (Celtic) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Diego Laxalt.

  4. Post update

    Foul by Theo Hernández (Milan).

  5. Post update

    Jeremie Frimpong (Celtic) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  6. Post update

    Foul by Sandro Tonali (Milan).

  7. Post update

    Olivier Ntcham (Celtic) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  8. Post update

    Foul by Ismael Bennacer (Milan).

  9. Post update

    Patryk Klimala (Celtic) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  10. Post update

    Attempt missed. Sandro Tonali (Milan) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the right following a corner.

  11. Post update

    Corner, Milan. Conceded by Callum McGregor.

  12. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Brahim Díaz (Milan) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Jens Petter Hauge.

  13. Post update

    Theo Hernández (Milan) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  14. Post update

    Foul by Jeremie Frimpong (Celtic).

  15. Substitution

    Substitution, Celtic. Patryk Klimala replaces Ryan Christie.

  16. Post update

    Attempt missed. Ryan Christie (Celtic) left footed shot from outside the box misses to the right from a direct free kick.

  17. Post update

    Foul by Brahim Díaz (Milan).

  18. Post update

    Jeremie Frimpong (Celtic) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  19. Post update

    Attempt missed. Olivier Ntcham (Celtic) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the right.

  20. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Ryan Christie (Celtic) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Odsonne Edouard.

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Scores, Results & Fixtures

Thursday 3rd December 2020

As It Stood

A

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Roma54101221013
2Young Boys52127617
3CFR Cluj512238-55
4CSKA Sofia502306-62

B

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Arsenal55001631315
2Molde530279-29
3Rapid Vienna5203911-26
4Dundalk5005615-90

C

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Slavia Prague5401116512
2B Leverkusen5401178912
3Nice5104815-73
4Hapoel Be'er Sheva5104613-73

D

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Rangers5320117411
2Benfica5320167911
3Lech Poznan5104612-63
4Standard Liege5104512-73

E

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Granada531163310
2PSV Eindhoven530289-19
3PAOK Salonika51228715
4Omonia Nicosia511358-34

F

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Napoli531163310
2Real Sociedad52214318
3AZ Alkmaar52216338
4HNK Rijeka5014411-71

G

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Leicester5311125710
2Sporting Braga53111210210
3Zorya Luhansk520369-36
4AEK Athens5104713-63

H

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Lille5320125711
2AC Milan5311117410
3Sparta Prague52031011-16
4Celtic5014717-101

I

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Villarreal5410145913
2Maccabi Tel-Aviv522157-28
3Sivasspor5203910-16
4FK Qarabag5014410-61

J

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Royal Antwerp540183512
2Tottenham5311135810
3LASK5212811-37
4Ludogorets5005616-100

K

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Dinamo Zagreb532060611
2RZ Pellets WAC52126607
3Feyenoord512247-35
4CSKA Moscow503225-33

L

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Hoffenheim54101311213
2Red Star Belgrade531194510
3Slovan Liberec5203413-96
4KAA Gent5005311-80
View full Europa League tables

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