Europa League - Group D
CelticCeltic2Astra GiurgiuAstra Giurgiu1

Celtic 2-1 Astra Giurgiu

By Alasdair LamontBBC Scotland
Stefan Scepovic savours his first goal for Celtic after netting the opener against Astra Giurgiu of Romania
Stefan Scepovic savours his first goal for Celtic after netting the opener against Astra Giurgiu of Romania

Celtic laboured to victory against an Astra side who will feel they might have left Glasgow with at least a point.

The Romanians created more chances than the hosts but failed to break through.

They were made to suffer when Celtic finally found the net as Stefan Scepovic headed his first goal for the club before Stefan Johansen lashed high into the net.

Gabriel Enache quickly reduced the deficit but Celtic held out.

The Scottish champions have picked up seven points from three Europa League Group D games and sit top of the pile, with a trip to Romania up next for Ronny Deila's side in two weeks.

Stefan Scepovic rises to nod his first goal for Celtic and give his side a crucial lead against Astra Giurgiu
Stefan Scepovic rises to nod his first goal for Celtic and give his side a crucial lead against Astra Giurgiu

The manager will be keen to accentuate that positive aspect but the supporters will attest to the fact they once again witnessed a below-par Celtic performance.

Just as they had at times looked second-best here in the win over Dinamo Zagreb, they allowed Astra to dictate too often and but for good goalkeeping again by Craig Gordon and some wayward finishing, they would have been behind.

These were opponents with only one win in their last eight games, a run of form that had brought about a change of manager in the past fortnight.

That sequence includes a 5-1 thumping by Dinamo Zagreb in their opening fixture in Group D, followed by a 2-1 home loss to Salzburg.

They had, though, beaten Olympique Lyon on away goals in the qualifiers and after a turgid opening 20 minutes, during which Celtic dominated possession but failed to threaten the visitors' goal, Astra began to look more like that calibre of team.

Indeed, they had four clear-cut opportunities within 10 minutes as Gordon saved well from a powerful drive by Siedu Yahaya and a close-range Constantin Budescu effort, while Takayuki Seto and Enache both shot narrowly wide.

Celtic created little in the first half but Scepovic missed two glaring openings after the break before Astra again caused a handful of scares around Gordon's goal.

Norwegian midfielder Stefan Johansen buries the second goal for Celtic after a goalkeeper error
Norwegian midfielder Stefan Johansen buries the second goal for Celtic after a goalkeeper error

But Serbian striker Scepovic, looking increasingly forlorn, eased the tension as he rose to head an Anthony Stokes free-kick into the net.

And within moments, Johansen gave the home fans further cause to celebrate and relax as he capitalised on a fumble by the Astra keeper to hammer home.

It seemed Celtic were desperate to make life difficult for themselves though and so it was as Enache nipped in at the near post to clip the ball over the hitherto unbeatable Gordon.

But there were to be no late moments of anxiety for those in green and white, who will nonetheless know they will not often get away with such a display.

Line-ups

Celtic

Formation 4-3-3

  • 26Gordon
  • 23Lustig
  • 22Denayer
  • 5van Dijk
  • 3Izaguirre
  • 8Brown
  • 21MulgrewSubstituted forWakasoat 67'minutes
  • 25Johansen
  • 42McGregorSubstituted forTonevat 57'minutesBooked at 70mins
  • 12Scepovic
  • 10StokesSubstituted forKayalat 78'minutes

Substitutes

  • 2Matthews
  • 4Ambrose
  • 24Zaluska
  • 27Tonev
  • 28Griffiths
  • 32Wakaso
  • 33Kayal

Astra Giurgiu

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 1Lung Jr.
  • 22Pliatsikas
  • 5S Ben Youssef
  • 15OrosBooked at 72mins
  • 13Morais Júnior
  • 6YahayaBooked at 8mins
  • 14LabanSubstituted forFlorescuat 88'minutes
  • 9Enache
  • 8SetoSubstituted forFataiat 78'minutes
  • 91de AmorimSubstituted forRusat 88'minutes
  • 10Budescu

Substitutes

  • 4Florescu
  • 19Bukari
  • 20Chitu
  • 21Fatai
  • 25Gaman
  • 26Rus
  • 33Coman
Referee:
Kristinn Jakobsson

Match Stats

Home TeamCelticAway TeamAstra Giurgiu
Possession
Home63%
Away37%
Shots
Home20
Away15
Shots on Target
Home3
Away4
Corners
Home9
Away2
Fouls
Home9
Away11

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Celtic 2, Astra Giurgiu 1.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Celtic 2, Astra Giurgiu 1.

  3. Post update

    Attempt missed. Stefan Scepovic (Celtic) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the right.

  4. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Stefan Scepovic (Celtic) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked.

  5. Post update

    Beram Kayal (Celtic) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  6. Post update

    Foul by George Florescu (Astra Giurgiu).

  7. Post update

    Foul by Beram Kayal (Celtic).

  8. Post update

    Júnior Morais (Astra Giurgiu) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  9. Substitution

    Substitution, Astra Giurgiu. Laurentiu Rus replaces William de Amorim.

  10. Substitution

    Substitution, Astra Giurgiu. George Florescu replaces Vincent Laban.

  11. Post update

    Attempt missed. Constantin Budescu (Astra Giurgiu) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the right. Assisted by Vincent Laban from a direct free kick.

  12. Post update

    Foul by Scott Brown (Celtic).

  13. Post update

    Júnior Morais (Astra Giurgiu) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  14. Post update

    Attempt missed. Beram Kayal (Celtic) right footed shot from the centre of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Stefan Scepovic.

  15. Goal!

    Goal! Celtic 2, Astra Giurgiu 1. Gabriel Enache (Astra Giurgiu) with an attempt from the left side of the six yard box to the centre of the goal.

  16. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Gabriel Enache (Astra Giurgiu) left footed shot from the left side of the six yard box is blocked. Assisted by William de Amorim with a cross.

  17. Post update

    Foul by Jason Denayer (Celtic).

  18. Post update

    Constantin Budescu (Astra Giurgiu) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  19. Goal!

    Goal! Celtic 2, Astra Giurgiu 0. Stefan Johansen (Celtic) left footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom left corner.

  20. Substitution

    Substitution, Astra Giurgiu. Kehinde Fatai replaces Takayuki Seto.

Scores, Results & Fixtures

Thursday 23rd October 2014

As It Stood

A

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Villarreal32109277
2B Mgladbach31207255
3Apollon Limassol3102311-83
4FC Zürich301248-41

B

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Torino32103037
2Club Bruges31204135
3FC Copenhagen31113214
4HJK Helsinki300307-70

C

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Besiktas31206245
2Tottenham31206245
3Asteras Tripolis311146-24
4Partizan Belgrade301206-61

D

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Celtic32105327
2RB Salzburg32108537
3Dinamo Zagreb31027613
4Astra Giurgiu300339-60

E

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Dinamo Moscow33005239
2PSV Eindhoven31112204
3Estoril Praia31023303
4Panathinaikos301225-31

F

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Inter Milan32103037
2FK Qarabag311112-14
3Saint-Étienne30300003
4Dnipropetrovsk301202-21

G

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Sevilla31204225
2Standard Liege31113214
3HNK Rijeka31115504
4Feyenoord310236-33

H

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Everton31205235
2Wolfsburg311167-14
3Lille30302203
4FK Krasnodar302146-22

I

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Sparta Prague32017436
2BSC Young Boys32018356
3Napoli32015326
4Slovan Bratislava3003010-100

J

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Steaua Bucharest32019456
2Dynamo Kyiv32016426
3Aalborg BK320146-26
4Rio Ave300316-50

K

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Fiorentina33007079
2Guingamp311123-14
3PAOK Salonika31026423
4Dinamo Minsk301219-81

L

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Legia Warsaw33003039
2Trabzonspor32014226
3KSC Lokeren310213-23
4Metalist Kharkiv300314-30
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