Europa League - Group A
Ajax2Celtic2

Ajax 2-2 Celtic

A free-kick by Lasse Schone evades everyone in the box and finds the net to give Ajax an equaliser against Celtic
Lasse Schone's free-kick evaded everyone to secure a point for Ajax

Celtic were denied a Europa League win as Ajax's Lasse Schone scored a late equaliser in a captivating match.

Nir Bitton and Mikael Lustig were on target for a Celtic side who fought with real passion and determination.

But a stunning strike from Viktor Fischer and a free-kick leveller from Schone provided the sucker punches.

Celtic head back to Glasgow with a hard-fought point on a night that also saw Emilio Izaguirre sent off for receiving two bookings.

Ronny Deila, who handed a debut to young Croatian centre-back Jozo Simunovic and gave Kris Commons a first European start of the season, can be content with the result and performance.

But it is Molde who end Thursday on top of Group A after the Norwegian side defeated Fenerbahce in Turkey.

Sloppy Ajax punished

Unsurprisingly, the home side started with confidence and they stroked the ball about with a swagger as Celtic were forced to chase and contain.

But the Dutch side were punished for dithering in possession when Israel midfielder Bitton gave Celtic a stunning, if somewhat surprising lead.

Nir Bitton scores for Celtic against Ajax
Bitton netted his fourth goal of the season

He burst on to a Commons through ball on the right-hand side and slotted low past Jasper Cillessen on the angle from 12 yards out.

The imposing Amsterdam ArenA fell into near silence apart from the small band of Celtic fans high in the corner.

Frank de Boer's young hosts tried to hit back immediately but despite sustained pressure, the Celtic back four stood firm until they were sliced open by a piece of footballing brilliance.

Young German Amin Younes played the ball inside to Davy Klaassen on the edge of the box, the captain back-heeled into the path of Fischer and the forward simply stroked the ball past Craig Gordon with pinpoint accuracy.

A real touch of total football but a body blow to a Celtic side who had started to believe they could take their lead into the break.

The visitors started to grow in confidence, though, and Leigh Griffiths's close-range effort was turned behind by Cillessen.

However, any disappointment at that missed chance was blown away when Lustig put Celtic back in front from the resulting Commons corner.

Mikael Lustig scores for Celtic against Ajax
Lustig exposed Ajax's defensive frailties with Celtic's second goal

The Sweden defender rose unchallenged on the six-yard line and nodded down and into the back of the net.

Klassen had a golden opportunity to level shortly after the break but he opted to back-heel inside the box instead of putting his foot on the ball and taking a shot - the howls of derision from the home fans a reminder that he chose the wrong option.

As Ajax continued to spurn chances, Celtic started to press in search of a third and James Forrest watched his fierce effort inside the box blocked desperately by Cillessen.

Griffiths then smashed the side netting with a volley after a superb looping ball from the ever more impressive Commons.

Red card turning point

Deila's side were reduced to 10 men after 73 minutes when Izaguirre was shown a second yellow card for a rash tackle on Anwar El Ghazi.

Celtic's Emilio Izaguirre was sent off against Ajax
Izaguirre (far right) saw red for two poor tackles

The visitors were saved by the woodwork when Younes's replacement Arkadiusz Milik headed past Gordon and watched his effort smash off the left-hand post.

Everything was pointing to this being Celtic's night but Denmark midfielder Schone killed the dream from a set piece as time began to run out.

His right-footed free-kick from 30 yards out on the left looked like a cross but it eluded everyone and bounced past a helpless Gordon.

Man of the match

Kris Commons impressed on his return to the starting line-up, setting up both Celtic goals and creating several other opportunities.

Kris Commons in action for Celtic against Ajax
Commons (right) has been in and out of the Celtic side so far this season

The former Scotland international looked at home when playing just off the central striker and linked well with his midfield team-mates.

The stats you need to know

  • Lasse Schone has scored in the last three meetings of Ajax and Celtic.
  • Having lost only one goal in their opening four European fixtures this season, Celtic have now conceded six in their last three.
  • Celtic opened last season's Europa League group campaign with a 2-2 draw away from home, against Salzburg, and eventually reached the last 32 of the competition.
  • Like in Amsterdam, Ronny Deila's side also led twice in that 2-2 draw in Austria.

What next?

Celtic return to domestic action with a home Scottish Premiership meeting with Dundee on Sunday at 15:00 BST. Their next Group A opponents are Fenerbahce in Glasgow on 1 October.

Line-ups

Ajax

  • 1Cillessen
  • 23Tete
  • 3Veltman
  • 22Riedewald
  • 35Dijks
  • 27Gudelj
  • 7FischerSubstituted forSchöneat 75'minutes
  • 8SinkgravenSubstituted forSereroat 62'minutesBooked at 89mins
  • 21El Ghazi
  • 10Klaassen
  • 11YounesSubstituted forMilikat 62'minutes

Substitutes

  • 2van Rhijn
  • 4van der Hoorn
  • 9Milik
  • 20Schöne
  • 25Serero
  • 26Viergever
  • 33Boer

Celtic

  • 1Gordon
  • 23LustigBooked at 64minsSubstituted forAmbroseat 69'minutes
  • 20Boyata
  • 5Simunovic
  • 3IzaguirreBooked at 73mins
  • 8Brown
  • 6Bitton
  • 49ForrestSubstituted forBlackettat 75'minutes
  • 25JohansenBooked at 67mins
  • 15CommonsSubstituted forJankoat 83'minutes
  • 9Griffiths

Substitutes

  • 2Blackett
  • 4Ambrose
  • 7Ciftci
  • 16Mackay-Steven
  • 18Rogic
  • 22Janko
  • 26Bailly
Referee:
Luca Banti
Attendance:
47,455

Match Stats

Home TeamAjaxAway TeamCeltic
Possession
Home63%
Away37%
Shots
Home18
Away9
Shots on Target
Home3
Away4
Corners
Home2
Away6
Fouls
Home9
Away10

Live Text

Match ends, Ajax 2, Celtic 2.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Ajax 2, Celtic 2.

Attempt blocked. Davy Klaassen (Ajax) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Lasse Schöne.

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

Delay in match Nir Bitton (Celtic) because of an injury.

Attempt missed. Arkadiusz Milik (Ajax) header from the centre of the box is just a bit too high. Assisted by Mitchell Dijks with a cross.

Offside, Celtic. Scott Brown tries a through ball, but Leigh Griffiths is caught offside.

Booking

Thulani Serero (Ajax) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Foul by Thulani Serero (Ajax).

Efe Ambrose (Celtic) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Attempt missed. Nemanja Gudelj (Ajax) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the right.

Foul by Nemanja Gudelj (Ajax).

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

Attempt blocked. Thulani Serero (Ajax) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

Goal!

Goal! Ajax 2, Celtic 2. Lasse Schöne (Ajax) from a free kick with a right footed shot to the bottom right corner.

Substitution

Substitution, Celtic. Saidy Janko replaces Kris Commons.

Hand ball by Kris Commons (Celtic).

Davy Klaassen (Ajax) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Foul by Scott Brown (Celtic).

Arkadiusz Milik (Ajax) hits the left post with a header from the centre of the box. Assisted by Anwar El Ghazi with a cross.

Attempt missed. Davy Klaassen (Ajax) header from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Mitchell Dijks with a cross.

Attempt missed. Anwar El Ghazi (Ajax) right footed shot from the right side of the box misses to the left.

Attempt missed. Arkadiusz Milik (Ajax) left footed shot from outside the box is too high from a direct free kick.

Substitution

Substitution, Celtic. Tyler Blackett replaces James Forrest.

Substitution

Substitution, Ajax. Lasse Schöne replaces Viktor Fischer.

Dismissal

Second yellow card to Emilio Izaguirre (Celtic) for a bad foul.

Anwar El Ghazi (Ajax) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Emilio Izaguirre (Celtic).

Anwar El Ghazi (Ajax) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Foul by Emilio Izaguirre (Celtic).

Foul by Nemanja Gudelj (Ajax).

Scott Brown (Celtic) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Substitution

Substitution, Celtic. Efe Ambrose replaces Mikael Lustig.

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

Delay in match Mikael Lustig (Celtic) because of an injury.

Booking

Stefan Johansen (Celtic) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Jasper Cillessen (Ajax) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Stefan Johansen (Celtic).

Attempt saved. Leigh Griffiths (Celtic) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Nir Bitton.

Offside, Celtic. Kris Commons tries a through ball, but Leigh Griffiths is caught offside.

goal

Scores, Results & Fixtures

Thursday 17th September 2015

View all 24 Europa League results

As It Stood

A

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Molde11003123
2Celtic10102201
3Ajax10102201
4Fenerbahçe100113-20

B

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1FC Sion11002113
2Liverpool10101101
3Bordeaux10101101
4Rubin Kazan100112-10

C

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1B Dortmund11002113
2FK Qabala10100001
3PAOK Salonika10100001
4FK Krasnodar100112-10

D

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Napoli11005053
2FC Midtjylland11001013
3Legia Warsaw100101-10
4Club Brugge100105-50

E

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Viktoria Plzen11002023
2Rapid Vienna11002113
3Villarreal100112-10
4Dinamo Minsk100102-20

F

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Marseille11003033
2Sporting Braga11001013
3Slovan Liberec100101-10
4FC Groningen100103-30

G

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Rosenborg10102201
2Saint-Étienne10102201
3Lazio10101101
4Dnipropetrovsk10101101

H

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Lokomotiv Moscow11003123
2Besiktas11001013
3Skenderbeu100101-10
4Sporting100113-20

I

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1FC Basel11002113
2Belenenses10100001
3Lech Poznan10100001
4Fiorentina100112-10

J

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Tottenham11003123
2Monaco10101101
3Anderlecht10101101
4FK Qarabag100113-20

K

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Schalke11003033
2Sparta Prague10101101
3Asteras Tripolis10101101
4Apoel Nicosia100103-30

L

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Ath Bilbao11003123
2Partizan Belgrade11003213
3AZ Alkmaar100123-10
4Augsburg100113-20
View full Europa League tables

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