Champions League - Qualifying - Third Round - 1st Leg
Celtic1FK Qarabag0

Champions League: Celtic 1-0 Qarabag

Dedryck Boyata grabbed his second goal since signing for Celtic with a late header
Dedryck Boyata grabbed his second goal since signing for Celtic with a late header
  • Boyata with late goal for Celtic
  • Second leg in Azerbaijan next Wednesday

Dedryck Boyata kept Celtic's Champions League hopes on track with a late winner against Qarabag.

Celtic had a frustrating night in the third qualifying round first leg with Gary Mackay-Steven's fumbled shot the only one on target in the first half.

The Azerbaijani champions were no easier to contend with in the second half, though goalkeeper Ibrahim Sehic's stunning save denied Virgil van Dijk.

However, Kris Commons' cross found Boyata, who headed in from six yards.

A fractious night at Celtic Park but a precious victory, and a clean sheet, for Ronny Deila's team in this Champions League third qualifying round tie, ahead of next Wednesday's second leg.

In the days before this match, Celtic made big play of the respect they had for the visitors, citing their impressive results in the Europa League last season and reminding their supporters that this tie could be an almighty grind.

And a grind it was. Qarabag created little or nothing but in their pursuit of a cushion, Celtic toiled in the opening half.

There was a lack of accuracy in their play, a lack of wit to cut open a visiting defence that was cool for the most part. Save for a tame Mackay-Steven shot and a snappy Richard Almeida free-kick that rebounded off Celtic goalkeeper Craig Gordon to safety, there was precious little to excite.

Qarabag looked comfortable at the back. Fearless, even. More than once they played intricate passing in their own penalty area where others might have panicked. Their ease was a polar opposite to the anxiety of the home support - big in number and big in angst.

It was another frustrating night in front of goal for Nadir Ciftci
It was another frustrating night in front of goal for Nadir Ciftci

That mood was only added to in the minutes before Boyata freed them from their footballing purgatory.

Celtic carved out decent openings early in the second half, two of them falling to Nadir Ciftci and both of them missed.

The first a header that flashed wide of Ibrahim Sehic's goal and the second thumped straight down the goalkeeper's throat.

Midway through the half, Van Dijk thumped a magnificent header on Qarabag's goal only to see Sehic make a save from the Gods. Soon after, the Dutchman lashed a shot over Sehic's crossbar.

Deila emptied his bench in search of inspiration. James Forrest came on for the hushed Stuart Armstrong. In a statement of intent, Leigh Griffiths, a striker, replaced Nir Biton, a holding midfielder. Then Commons appeared in place of Ciftci.

And it was Commons' delivery that finally unlocked Qarabag. When Boyata stole in ahead of Sehic to score it released a pressure valve inside Celtic Park.

In the process, it gave his team a vital lead on the tortuous journey to the white heat of Baku next week.

A big crowd descended on Celtic Park for the third qualifying round tie
A crowd of 43,011 descended on Celtic Park for the third qualifying round tie
Celtic's Stefan Johansen (right) tackles Gara Garayev
Celtic's Stefan Johansen (right) tackles Gara Garayev
Ibrahim Sehic denied Virgil van Dijk with a fine save
Sehic denied Van Dijk with a fine save
Dedryck Boyata (left) headed Celtic into the lead late on
Boyata (left) headed Celtic into the lead late on

Line-ups

Celtic

  • 1Gordon
  • 23Lustig
  • 20Boyata
  • 5van DijkBooked at 45mins
  • 3IzaguirreBooked at 36mins
  • 6BittonSubstituted forGriffithsat 69'minutes
  • 8Brown
  • 14ArmstrongSubstituted forForrestat 62'minutesBooked at 90mins
  • 25Johansen
  • 16Mackay-Steven
  • 7CiftciSubstituted forCommonsat 80'minutes

Substitutes

  • 4Ambrose
  • 9Griffiths
  • 15Commons
  • 18Rogic
  • 22Janko
  • 26Bailly
  • 49Forrest

FK Qarabag

  • 13Sehic
  • 18Qurbanov
  • 55Huseynov
  • 14Sadiqov
  • 25AgolliBooked at 62mins
  • 67El JadeyaouiSubstituted forPoeponat 87'minutes
  • 20Almeida de Oliveira
  • 2Garayev
  • 10Quintana SosaSubstituted forDiniyevat 82'minutes
  • 77TagiyevSubstituted forMammadovat 73'minutes
  • 9dos Santos Silva

Substitutes

  • 1Valiyev
  • 6Mustafayev
  • 11Mammadov
  • 19Salahli
  • 29Poepon
  • 32Yunuszada
  • 91Diniyev
Referee:
Robert Schörgenhofer
Attendance:
43,011

Match Stats

Home TeamCelticAway TeamFK Qarabag
Possession
Home46%
Away54%
Shots
Home8
Away4
Shots on Target
Home4
Away0
Corners
Home2
Away4
Fouls
Home14
Away10

Live Text

Match ends, Celtic 1, FK Qarabag 0.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Celtic 1, FK Qarabag 0.

Foul by Dedryck Boyata (Celtic).

Cosqun Diniyev (FK Qarabag) wins a free kick on the right wing.

James Forrest (Celtic) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by Ansi Agolli (FK Qarabag).

Booking

James Forrest (Celtic) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Foul by James Forrest (Celtic).

Reynaldo Silva (FK Qarabag) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Substitution

Substitution, FK Qarabag. Rydell Poepon replaces Alharbi El Jadeyaoui.

Attempt missed. Gary Mackay-Steven (Celtic) right footed shot from the right side of the box is close, but misses to the right.

Attempt missed. Elvin Mammadov (FK Qarabag) left footed shot from the left side of the box is too high.

Foul by Stefan Johansen (Celtic).

Elvin Mammadov (FK Qarabag) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Mikael Lustig (Celtic).

Elvin Mammadov (FK Qarabag) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Goal!

Goal! Celtic 1, FK Qarabag 0. Dedryck Boyata (Celtic) header from the centre of the box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Kris Commons following a corner.

Substitution

Substitution, FK Qarabag. Cosqun Diniyev replaces Dani Quintana.

Corner, Celtic. Conceded by Badavi Huseynov.

Substitution

Substitution, Celtic. Kris Commons replaces Nadir Ciftci.

Substitution

Substitution, FK Qarabag. Elvin Mammadov replaces Cavid Tagiyev.

Attempt missed. Reynaldo Silva (FK Qarabag) right footed shot from the left side of the box is too high.

Substitution

Substitution, Celtic. Leigh Griffiths replaces Nir Bitton.

Attempt missed. Virgil van Dijk (Celtic) right footed shot from outside the box is just a bit too high.

Attempt saved. Virgil van Dijk (Celtic) header from the left side of the six yard box is saved in the top left corner.

Gary Mackay-Steven (Celtic) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Richard Almeida (FK Qarabag).

Foul by Gara Garayev (FK Qarabag).

Nir Bitton (Celtic) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Substitution

Substitution, Celtic. James Forrest replaces Stuart Armstrong.

Booking

Ansi Agolli (FK Qarabag) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Foul by Ansi Agolli (FK Qarabag).

Gary Mackay-Steven (Celtic) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Attempt saved. Nadir Ciftci (Celtic) left footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

Foul by Badavi Huseynov (FK Qarabag).

Nadir Ciftci (Celtic) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Corner, FK Qarabag. Conceded by Stuart Armstrong.

Corner, FK Qarabag. Conceded by Mikael Lustig.

Attempt missed. Nadir Ciftci (Celtic) header from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the right.

Foul by Richard Almeida (FK Qarabag).

goal

Scores, Results & Fixtures

Wednesday 29th July 2015

  • CelticCeltic1FK QarabagFK Qarabag0
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  • RB SalzburgFC Red Bull Salzburg2Malmö FFMalmö FF0
  • Steaua BucharestSteaua Bucharest1Partizan BelgradePartizan Belgrade1
  • Lech PoznanLech Poznan1FC BaselFC Basel3
  • Rapid ViennaRapid Vienna2AjaxAjax2

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