Celtic 2-0 AZ: Furuhashi and Forrest goals leave Scottish side in strong position

By Sports Desk August 18, 2021

Celtic will take a 2-0 lead into the second leg of their Europa League play-off tie with AZ thanks to goals from Kyogo Furuhashi and James Forrest at Celtic Park.

The Scottish side eased to a 7-2 aggregate win against Jablonec in the third qualifying round, having seen their Champions League qualifying hopes dashed by Midtjylland, and were good value for their victory in Glasgow on Wednesday.

Furuhashi fired the hosts in front with 12 minutes played and teed up Forrest for Celtic's second with just over an hour on the clock, leaving the hosts in a commanding position ahead of the return game in Alkmaar next Thursday.

AZ entered the competition at this stage by virtue of finishing third in the Eredivisie last season and the Dutch side, who have lost some key players since the end of the previous campaign, started the first leg strongly.

Zakaria Aboukhlal had a penalty appeal turned down in the opening few minutes and Joe Hart then produced a superb save with his toes to help Vangelis Pavlidis' shot onto the post.

But Furuhashi helped settle any Celtic nerves with his sixth goal in six games since joining, the Japan international athletically prodding the ball home after being picked out at the back post by David Turnbull.

Forest had a shot well kept out by Hobie Verhulst as Ange Postecoglou's side pushed for a second, though they were given a warning at the other end when Aboukhlal forced Hart into another save.

Shortly after Thijs Oosting had wasted a glorious chance for AZ by firing over from 10 yards, Celtic scored a potentially vital second goal through Forrest's shot on the turn, which took a wicked deflection off Timo Letschert on its way through.

Substitute Odsonne Edouard was twice denied by Verhulst in quick succession late on, but Celtic did at least keep out the opposition at the other end for an all-important clean sheet as they made it five wins in a row for Postecoglou.

Related items

  • Former Man Utd director Knighton in talks with 'three billionaires' ahead of potential takeover bid Former Man Utd director Knighton in talks with 'three billionaires' ahead of potential takeover bid

    Former Manchester United director Michael Knighton says he is in talks with several billionaires ahead of launching a potential takeover bid at Old Trafford.

    The 70-year-old revealed he has put together a consortium interested in buying the club, although he would operate in a consultancy role should a successful deal by struck.

    The club's current owners – the Glazer family – have come under increased scrutiny following the Red Devils' poor start to the Premier League season.

    Supporters have staged several protests against the Americans, who Knighton believes have turned Old Trafford from a "theatre of a dreams to a theatre of nightmares"

    And the former director, who had a bid to buy the club accepted in 1989 – although it never came to fruition – explained that he has had conversation with three potential partners to put forward a deal.

    "They are small-time billionaires that I have been speaking to for three to four months now," Knighton told ITV News.

    "When I was approached by some fan groups, oddly enough, saying 'look, our club is dying on its feet, would you please do something?'

    "I made a few phone calls, and I've been pulling this consortium together ever since.

    "The point is: someone had to make a stand."

    Knighton also revealed he has approached British billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe, who recently tried to purchase fellow Premier League side Chelsea, to buy the club.

    He said: "If we can smoke the great Sir Jim out to buy Manchester United, my consortium will be punching the air because we've achieved what we want to do.

    "We will make the bid with our own consortium but, I'll tell you this, we do not have the resources available to do everything that is needed."

  • 'Media only speaks lies' – Cristiano Ronaldo teases revealing interview in coming weeks 'Media only speaks lies' – Cristiano Ronaldo teases revealing interview in coming weeks

    Manchester United striker Cristiano Ronaldo appeared to indicate he has a revealing interview planned in the coming weeks that will confirm the "truth" about speculation around his future.

    Ronaldo, 37, for the first time in his career has seemingly found a lack of interest for his services as he reportedly tries to push his way out of Old Trafford.

    Some of the biggest clubs in the world – including Juventus, Chelsea and Atletico Madrid – have all supposedly turned down the opportunity to sign one of the greatest players the game has ever seen, but the Portuguese star believes most media reports focused on his future have been inaccurate.

    In response to a post by a Ronaldo fan page on Instagram, which was criticising the aforementioned speculation, the five-time Ballon d'Or winner added fuel to the fire as he teased a tell-all interview.

    His comment read: "They know the truth when [sic] interview in a few weeks. Media only speaks lies. I have a notebook and in the last few months of the 100 news that made only five [accurate] hits, imagine how things are."

    Ronaldo made his first start of the season in United's embarrassing 4-0 loss to Brentford.

  • Gomez highlights Kompany influence on career and move to Man City Gomez highlights Kompany influence on career and move to Man City

    New Manchester City signing Sergio Gomez highlighted the key role club legend Vincent Kompany played in shaping his career and recent move to the Etihad Stadium.

    Gomez joined City from Anderlecht for a reported fee of £11million (€13m) on Tuesday to become Pep Guardiola's fourth signing of the transfer window after Kalvin Phillips, Erling Haaland and Stefan Ortega.

    The left-back was instrumental for the Belgian side under Kompany last season, racking up 49 appearances and registering 15 assists along the way.

    Kompany enjoyed a hugely successful spell with City between 2008 and 2019, winning 12 trophies, including four Premier League titles and two FA Cups.

    And Gomez, who spent his youth career with Barcelona before a stint at Borussia Dortmund, received the former skipper's blessing before completing his move to the Etihad.

    "I talked to [Kompany] a few days ago when I knew about City's interest in signing me," the 21-year-old told the club's official website.

    "He was very happy for me; he told me this would be a huge step in my career and that I was making the right decision by coming here.

    "It's a big step for me. I'm really happy that [City] showed interest in signing me, and I'm going to give my best to show on the pitch that I deserve to be here, and I hope we can achieve big things together.

    "I think I've grown in every step of my career, I hope to continue doing so here at City. I'm here to learn and help this team as much as I can."

    Previously a wide or central midfielder, Gomez also spoke about how he has not looked back since Kompany converted him into a left-back at Anderlecht last term. 

    "He called me and said I could do very well in that position," the Spain Under-21 international continued.

    "To be honest, I was a little bit surprised, I didn't expect it, but he seemed very sure about the decision, and that gave me confidence.

    "I will always be thankful to Vincent for the opportunity; I'm still playing as a left-back and I really enjoy it."

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.