herald

Monday 24 September 2018

Celtic are in driving seat: Ajer

Super Celts: Kristoffer Ajer
Super Celts: Kristoffer Ajer

Defender Kristoffer Ajer is satisfied with the two-goal lead Celtic will take to Trondheim for the Champions League qualifying clash with Rosenborg next week.

The Scottish champions fell behind after 15 minutes of the first leg of their second-round qualifier at Parkhead on Wednesday night when defender Birger Meling raced into the box to convert a Nicklas Bendtner pass.

However, the Hoops fought back with the inspirational help of French duo Odsonne Edouard and Olivier Ntcham, whose goals - one from each player just either side of the break - turned the tie back in Celtic's favour.

Parkhead striker Edouard, 20, bought for a reported club record fee of £9million from Paris St Germain in the summer after a loan spell last season, grabbed his double in the 75th minute with a delightful chip over 'keeper Andre Hansen who, along with the woodwork, prevented Brendan Rodgers' men from making their lead all-but unassailable.

The two sides met in the penultimate qualifier last season, with James Forrest scoring the only goal of the tie in the second leg in Trondheim, and Ajer was happy enough with the 3-1 advantage Celtic will have going into the return game this year.

The 20-year-old Norwegian said: "Of course when you play in this competition it is all about getting a result and to score three goals at home is a good result to take away to Trondheim.

"You can see that they can hurt you if we are not 100 per cent at it. We conceded early and then it is difficult to come back but we showed great character to score three fantastic goals."

Ajer in particular enjoyed his view of midfielder Ntcham's curling effort from outside the box within a minute of the second half starting, which stunned the Norwegian champions and set up Celtic to dominate further.

He said: "There were some fantastic goals and the second was amazing to watch from the centre-half position.

"Their goalkeeper had a fantastic game. We could have scored more but we are happy with three."

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