Champions League - Qualifying Second Round - 1st Leg
Linfield0Celtic2

Champions League second qualifying round: Linfield 0-2 Celtic

Scott Sinclair's header gave Celtic an early lead at Windsor Park
Scott Sinclair's header gave Celtic an early lead at Windsor Park

Celtic are on course to clear their first hurdle in Champions League qualifying after beating Linfield 2-0.

Early goals by Scott Sinclair and Tom Rogic put the Scottish Premiership winners in control but Linfield worked hard to limit the damage.

Sinclair headed in after 17 minutes with Rogic quickly following that with a first-time shot from a corner move.

The first leg was marred by a series of missile-throwing incidents which could bring Uefa punishment for Linfield.

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Linfield's David Healy praises 'exceptional' Celtic

Celtic had refused their ticket allocation for the first leg of the second qualifying round clash in Belfast because of safety fears, however, there were around 300 Hoops fans in the Kop stand, set aside for them in the half-full stadium.

The second leg of the second qualifying round tie takes place in Glasgow on Wednesday, 19 July.

Linfield may well be content having restricted Celtic to those two early goals, although they will be annoyed both were scored following corners.

The Northern Ireland double winners were largely restricted to half-chances but their heads did not drop and they battled gamely in the second half.

Celtic dominate first half

Linfield worked hard to prevent Celtic adding to their two early goals at Windsor Park
Linfield worked hard to prevent Celtic adding to their two early goals at Windsor Park

Brendan Rodgers' side, Scottish title winners for the last six seasons, dominated the early possession against Linfield, managed by Northern Ireland's record scorer David Healy, who had a spell with Celtic's Old Firm rivals Rangers.

The visitors got the breakthrough thanks to a tame header by former Aston Villa man Sinclair.

After a corner went deep, James Forrest lobbed it into the goalmouth, where Sinclair's header deflected off Blues defender Chris Casement and the ball trundled over the line.

Five minutes later, it was 2-0 thanks to a clearly rehearsed move from a corner. Rogic broke to meet the ball from Leigh Griffiths and cracked in a first-time left-foot finish from about 10 yards.

Visitors in cruise control

Celtic looked as if they had plenty in reserve and could have scored more if required, although home keeper Roy Carroll and his defence deserved great credit for keeping the visitors at bay in open play.

Rodgers, whose side won the Premiership by a remarkable 30 points in his first season in charge, will be satisfied to have that decent cushion before the return match at Celtic Park.

Last year, the Glasgow giants reached the lucrative Champions League group stage for the first time in three years.

Assuming they see off Linfield, they still face two more hurdles if they are to make it again.

They would face Rosenborg of Norway or Republic of Ireland champions Dundalk in the third qualifying round, with victory putting them into the play-off round in August.

Celtic's Leigh Griffiths handed the referee a bottle which had been thrown on to the pitch
Celtic's Leigh Griffiths handed the referee a bottle which had been thrown on to the pitch
After the match, Griffiths tied a Celtic scarf to a goalpost at Windsor Park
After the match, Griffiths tied a Celtic scarf to a goalpost at Windsor Park

Linfield face Uefa sanction over missiles

While Linfield players fought hard on the pitch, the club will likely face punishment over a number a missile-throwing incidents during the match.

As Celtic were celebrating their second goal, a projectile narrowly missed Griffiths.

In the second half, as the same player prepared to take a corner, coins and a glass bottle rained down from a section of the south stand. Griffiths was booked, apparently for time wasting, after protesting.

At that stage, Linfield chairman Roy McGivern went to that area, apparently to confront the troublemakers. But his intervention failed to prevent a number of further incidents.

Linfield were hoping to earn around £1m in prize money, gate receipts, television revenue, advertising and merchandising from this match.

But they could face a fine, and possibly having to play behind closed doors, if disciplinary chiefs take action over the distasteful incidents.

Police in riot gear moved in after the final whistle in Belfast
Police in riot gear moved in after the final whistle in Belfast

Line-ups

Linfield

  • 1Carroll
  • 2Stafford
  • 5Haughey
  • 16ClarkeSubstituted forStewartat 54'minutes
  • 18Casement
  • 24GarrettBooked at 63mins
  • 22Mulgrew
  • 8Lowry
  • 31Quinn
  • 38SmythBooked at 90mins
  • 7WaterworthBooked at 69mins

Substitutes

  • 3Stewart
  • 4Robinson
  • 10Stewart
  • 12Millar
  • 14Burns
  • 27Mitchell
  • 35Deane

Celtic

  • 1Gordon
  • 23Lustig
  • 5SimunovicBooked at 59mins
  • 28Sviatchenko
  • 63Tierney
  • 14ArmstrongBooked at 90mins
  • 8BrownBooked at 74mins
  • 49ForrestSubstituted forHayesat 70'minutes
  • 18RogicBooked at 66mins
  • 11Sinclair
  • 9GriffithsBooked at 65minsSubstituted forDembeleat 69'minutes

Substitutes

  • 3Izaguirre
  • 6Bitton
  • 10Dembele
  • 15Hayes
  • 24de Vries
  • 42McGregor
  • 88Kouassi
Referee:
Alejandro José Hernández Hernández
Attendance:
6,359

Live Text

Match ends, Linfield 0, Celtic 2.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Linfield 0, Celtic 2.

Booking

Stuart Armstrong (Celtic) is shown the yellow card.

Booking

Paul Smyth (Linfield) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Booking

Scott Brown (Celtic) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Substitution

Substitution, Celtic. Jonny Hayes replaces James Forrest.

Booking

Andrew Waterworth (Linfield) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Substitution

Substitution, Celtic. Moussa Dembele replaces Leigh Griffiths.

Booking

Tomas Rogic (Celtic) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Booking

Leigh Griffiths (Celtic) is shown the yellow card.

Booking

Robert Garrett (Linfield) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Booking

Jozo Simunovic (Celtic) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Substitution

Substitution, Linfield. Jordan Stewart replaces Matthew Clarke because of an injury.

Second Half

Second Half begins Linfield 0, Celtic 2.

Half Time

First Half ends, Linfield 0, Celtic 2.

Goal!

Goal! Linfield 0, Celtic 2. Tomas Rogic (Celtic) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the high centre of the goal.

Goal!

Own Goal by Mark Haughey, Linfield. Linfield 0, Celtic 1.

Kick Off

First Half begins.

Lineups are announced and players are warming up.

goal

As It Stood

A

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Arsenal64201861214
2Paris SG6330137612
3Ludo Razgd6033615-93
4Basel6024312-92

B

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Napoli6321118311
2Benfica6222101008
3Besiktas6141914-57
4Dynamo Kiev61238625

C

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Barcelona65012041615
2Man City6231121029
3B Gladbach6123512-75
4Celtic6033516-113

D

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Atl Madrid650172515
2Bayern Mun6402146812
3FC Rostov6123612-65
4PSV Eindhoven6024411-72

E

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Monaco632197211
2Bayer Levkn624084410
3Tottenham62136607
4CSKA6033511-63

F

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Bor Dortmd64202191214
2Real Madrid63301610612
3Legia War6114924-154
4Sporting610558-33

G

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Leicester641176113
2FC Porto632193611
3FC Copenhagen62317259
4Club Brugge6006214-120

H

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Juventus6420112914
2Sevilla632173411
3Lyon62225328
4Dinamo Zagreb6006015-150
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