Celtic 1-1 Midtjylland: Bhoys with work to do in Champions League qualification after Postecoglou bow

By Sports Desk July 20, 2021

Ange Postecoglou's first competitive match in charge of Celtic ended in a 1-1 Champions League qualifying draw at home to Midtjylland, leaving the Bhoys with plenty of work to do in the second leg.

Celtic were unable to win a 10th successive Scottish Premiership title last season as Rangers ended their long drought, meaning Celtic have had to start in the second round of Champions League qualifying.

And Midtjylland – runners up in Denmark last term – proved stubborn opposition, looking particularly bright in the early stages.

Though Celtic opened the scoring in the 39th minute, Israeli youngster Liel Abada – a new signing from Maccabi Petah Tikva – turning in from the middle of the box after Jonas Lossl could only parry an initial effort from Ryan Christie, who had hit the post not long prior.

Nir Bitton then put Celtic's position in doubt, reacting angrily to an apparent dive by Anders Dreyer and earning a second booking for poking the winger in the face.

But Dreyer – who was also yellow-carded in that prior incident – did not last much longer either, with referee Sandro Scharer making the arguably harsh decision to dismiss him in the 56th minute for what he perceived to be another display of simulation.

Celtic might have fancied their chances to finish the job after that, and they did swiftly hit the crossbar through Callum McGregor.

But unconvincing goalkeeping from Vasilios Barkas 10 minutes later allowed Evander to send a free-kick into the top-right corner, and that sealed a draw.

The two teams meet again in Denmark next Wednesday, though Celtic's saving grace is away goals no longer count double as a tie-breaker.

Related items

  • Henderson to miss Man Utd training camp as goalkeeper recovers from coronavirus Henderson to miss Man Utd training camp as goalkeeper recovers from coronavirus

    Dean Henderson will miss Manchester United's training camp in Scotland this week as he is struggling with "prolonged fatigue" after recently contracting coronavirus.

    The 24-year-old, who will once again rival David de Gea for a regular starting spot this coming season, tested positive for COVID-19 three weeks ago.

    Henderson has recovered from a hip injury that forced him to withdraw from England's Euro 2020 squad during the tournament but has yet to feature in United's three pre-season friendlies.

    Former Sheffield United loanee Henderson's preparations for the 2021-22 campaign have now been further disrupted as he deals with the after-effects of coronavirus.

    A statement on United's official website on Monday read: "Dean Henderson will miss Manchester United's Scotland training camp while he continues his recovery from prolonged fatigue after contracting a COVID-19 infection three weeks ago.

    "He is expected to be training again soon."

    United have used new signing Tom Heaton and Lee Grant in their pre-season games to date, though De Gea joined up with the squad on Monday following a post-Euros break.

    De Gea and Henderson shared goalkeeping duties last season, starting 26 and 13 Premier League matches respectively.

    Spain international De Gea saved 60 of the 280 shots he faced in the Premier League in 2020-21 for a save percentage of 65.22, compared to 76.47 for Henderson (40 saves from 150 shots).

    Henderson conceded 0.96 goals per 90 minutes in the competition last time out, meanwhile, a better return than the 1.25 let in by De Gea, albeit with the Spaniard playing double the number of matches.

    Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side take on Everton at Old Trafford in their final pre-season match on Saturday, before facing Leeds United in their opening Premier League game on August 14.

  • Kane not at Spurs training? English media would have helicopters out if Pogba tried that – Ferdinand Kane not at Spurs training? English media would have helicopters out if Pogba tried that – Ferdinand

    Paul Pogba would have been scrutinised much more by the English media and fans if he had refused to attend training, according to former Manchester United and England defender Rio Ferdinand, after Harry Kane allegedly skipped Tottenham's Monday session.

    Kane was expected back at Spurs to begin his pre-season preparations following a post-Euro 2020 break, but widespread media reports claim he did not show up.

    Spurs did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

    It has been suggested by some publications that Kane believes he has a gentleman's agreement with Spurs chairman Daniel Levy that would allow him to leave the club this month.

    Kane, a product of Spurs' academy, hinted before Euro 2020 that he felt he needed to leave in order to win trophies, and he has been strongly linked with a move to Manchester City ever since.

    But Ferdinand has seemingly been surprised by the neutral coverage of the situation, suggesting Pogba – a frequent target for criticism by certain sections of the English media – would have endured rougher treatment were he to behave similarly at United, with recent reports claiming he also wants out.

    Writing on his official Twitter account, Ferdinand said: "Let Paul Pogba not turn up for Man Utd training and see how the English media and fans go mad!

    "Helicopters and police forces [would be] out searching [for] his location immediately.

    "And I'm not saying that Kane and his tactics to leave are wrong (if we are to believe what's being said). Harry wants trophies and he isn't getting any younger."

    Former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher disagreed with Ferdinand's belief that Kane was not necessarily in the wrong if the reports were true, however.

    Kane has scored more times in the Premier League (166) for Spurs than any other player, while only Sergio Aguero (184), Wayne Rooney (183) and Thierry Henry (175) have greater goal hauls for a single club than the 28-year-old.

    And Carragher feels Kane – who signed a six-year contract in 2018 – could put his legacy at the club in jeopardy by trying to force a transfer.

    "I disagree, it is wrong not to turn up for training," Carragher wrote in response to Ferdinand.

    "We all know he wants to go and can totally understand why. But Harry should not ruin his name or relationship with the supporters who idolise him just to get the move. Spurs will always be HIS club."

    Kane finished as the Premier League's top scorer with 23 goals in 2020-21.

    He also set up 14 to become only the second player in the Premier League era to top the charts for both goals and assists in a single season, the other being Andy Cole for Newcastle United in 1993-94.

    Kane then finished the Euros with four goals – only Cristiano Ronaldo and Patrik Schick (five each) managed more – to draw level with Gary Lineker as his nation's leading scorer at major tournaments.

  • Kane stays away as Spurs find out Europa Conference League opponents Kane stays away as Spurs find out Europa Conference League opponents

    Tottenham discovered who they will face in the Europa Conference League on the day Harry Kane reportedly did not show up for pre-season training.

    Finishing seventh in the Premier League in the 2020-21 season secured Spurs a place in UEFA's new club competition, with matches to be staged on Thursdays.

    The north London side have been drawn to play the winner of the qualifier between Larne from Northern Ireland and Portuguese side Pacos de Ferreira.

    That play-off tie will take place across two legs on August 19 and 26, with the winner progressing into the group stage of a tournament that will run alongside the Champions League and Europa League.

    It remains to be seen whether Kane will be playing for Spurs in those fixtures, though, as the striker's future remains unclear as the new campaign draws closer.

    The England international was due to be back in training with Spurs on Monday following a short break, Kane having played a key role for his country at Euro 2020, scoring four goals as Gareth Southgate's squad reached the final before losing to Italy on penalties.

    However, according to multiple reports, he did not turn up as scheduled on Monday to begin preparations for the 2021-22 campaign.

    Manchester City have been heavily linked with a move for a player who won the Premier League's Golden Boot last term, thanks to 23 goals.

    Chelsea have also been rumoured to be interested, though previous speculation over a move to Manchester United has gone quiet since the arrival of Jadon Sancho at Old Trafford, with centre-back Raphael Varane set to follow during the current transfer window.

    New Spurs boss Nuno Espirito Santo made clear at his first media conference that Kane remained part of his plans, despite the 28-year-old reportedly telling club officials he wanted out.

    "Now is the moment for him to recover his energy and rest. Then we can speak. I am looking forward to him joining the group," the Portuguese said in mid-July.

    "I have no doubts in my mind. What I wish is for Harry to recover well, to have a good rest and when he arrives he will feel that every one of us needs to commit themselves to become better.

    "We are very ambitious people. We want to do it well. We count on Harry on that.

    "I am excited to work with all the players. Harry is one of the best players in the world. That is all I need to say."

    Kane has scored 142 Premier League goals since the start of the 2015-16 season, the most in the competition. Only Jamie Vardy (113) and Sergio Aguero (106) have reached three figures across the same period.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.