Friday 17 November 2017

Swede start goes wrong for Bhoys

Celtic 3 Malmo 2

Jo Inge Berget celebrates after scoring the late second goal for Malmo
Jo Inge Berget celebrates after scoring the late second goal for Malmo
Malmo's Jo Inge Berget (centre) scores his side's second goal of the game at Celtic Park
Celtic manager Ronny Deila looks on during the UEFA Champions League Qualifying, Play-Off at Celtic Park
Celtic's Leigh Griffiths out-jumps Malmo's Anton Tinnerholm to score his side's third goal of the night
Nir Bitton (second right) heads Celtic into a 2 goal lead

Celtic's Champions League hopes are up for grabs after a narrow 3-2 win over Malmo in the first leg of their play-off which saw former Hoops attacker Jo Inge Berget return to haunt the Parkhead club with a double.

Leigh Griffiths, preferred to Nadir Ciftci in the main striker's role for the first time in Europe this season, gave the Scottish champions the lead in the third minute with a typical poacher's goal before midfielder Nir Biton headed in a second from a Stefan Johansen corner.


However, Berget, who had a short and unsuccessful loan spell at Parkhead last season, pulled a goal back in the 52nd minute with a wonderful volley.

Griffiths headed in his second and sixth of the season in the 61st minute to make it 3-1 but in the fifth of five added-on minutes Berget scored from close range to make sure the second leg in Sweden next week will be a much more fraught affair.

It had started so well for the home side. Celtic looked fired up from the first whistle and got off to the perfect start when midfielder Johansen's pass was stopped by Griffiths around 12 yards out and he quickly steered the ball with his left foot past Johan Wiland.

Celtic Park erupted again in the 10th minute when Biton rose a couple of yards out to head in a Johansen corner, the Norway international coming close to making it three moments later, only to be foiled by the foot of the Malmo goalkeeper.

Celtic's grip on the game loosened and it was the Scottish champions who suffered a blow seven minutes into the second half following an Armstrong corner which came to nothing.

Malmo broke and with the Hoops defence still getting organised, Magnus Elkrem fired in a cross from wide on the right which ended up at the unmarked Berget, who volleyed past Gordon and into the far corner.

However, just after the hour mark, Griffiths capitalised on slack defending by Anton Tinnerholm who headed a Mikael Lustig cross straight up into the air, by sending a looping header over Wiland and in off the post.

The closing stages were nervy at times as Malmo went looking for the goal which would make the secon leg less daunting and with almost the last kick of the ball, as the home side failed to clear a corner, Berget fired high into the net from close range in the 95th minute to change the complexion of the tie.

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