Champions League - Qualifying Third Round - 1st Leg
FC Astana1Celtic1

FC Astana 1-1 Celtic

Leigh Griffiths cracks in the equaliser
Celtic take a valuable away goal back to Glasgow

Celtic emerged from a testing visit to Astana in which they were largely second best with a commendable draw.

Looking to reach the Champions League group stage for the first time since 2013, they found the Kazakhs tough opposition.

In Brendan Rodgers' third competitive game in charge, they fell behind to a Yuri Logvinenko header.

But after heavy Astana pressure, Leigh Griffiths struck a potentially crucial away goal on 78 minutes.

Griffiths had scarcely been involved in the match, his partnership with Moussa Dembele failing to gel.

But the striker, whose 40 goals last year earned him multiple awards and medals, showed his worth with a fantastic equaliser.

Patrick Roberts, Celtic's brightest player on the night, won possession near the byeline and picked out Griffiths inside the penalty area.

With barely a glance up, Griffiths rifled the ball past Nenad Eric to change the complexion of the tie.

Such an outcome had looked unlikely as a makeshift Celtic defence had to deal with a barrage of Astana chances.

With Erik Sviatchenko added to an already extensive list of injured defenders, Rodgers brought in 20-year-old Eoghan O'Connell for his European debut and Efe Ambrose was reintroduced to a three-man backline alongside Mikael Lustig.

Ambrose was fortunate not to see a lapse of concentration punished as he missed a Patrick Twumasi cross altogether, with Junior Kabananga inches away from connecting and Mikael Lustig nervously knocking the ball clear.

Craig Gordon and Leigh Griffiths celebrate at full-time
Gordon kept Astana at bay before Griffiths found the equaliser

But from the 19th-minute corner, O'Connell was left for dead by Logvinenk, who headed unchallenged into the net.

Although there were several further scares for the small travelling support, the majority of Astana's opportunities came from distance, with Craig Gordon looking assured.

As they often have, Celtic had their goalkeeper to thank for keeping the deficit to just one goal until Griffiths' leveller.

The Scotland international again produced save after save to help ensure Celtic are in the driving seat going into next week's second leg.

He somehow clawed away an awkward Azat Nurgaliyev chip after another Ambrose error, parried a ferocious 40-yard Twumasi drive, touched a dipping Nurgaliyev shot on to the crossbar and kept out a Kabananga effort with his legs.

Those interventions could prove vital as Celtic aim for a win in Glasgow next week to reach the Champions League play-off stage.

Line-ups

FC Astana

  • 1Eric
  • 14Shitov
  • 27Logvinenko
  • 5Anicic
  • 77Shomko
  • 6Maksimovic
  • 88Cañas
  • 15BeysebekovSubstituted forIbraimiat 85'minutesBooked at 90mins
  • 13NurgalievBooked at 28minsSubstituted forMuzhikovat 62'minutes
  • 23Twumasi
  • 30KabanangaSubstituted forDespotovicat 86'minutes

Substitutes

  • 7Muzhikov
  • 8Tagybergen
  • 9Ibraimi
  • 10Despotovic
  • 12Najarian
  • 25Maliy
  • 35Mokin

Celtic

  • 1Gordon
  • 23Lustig
  • 4Ambrose
  • 34O'Connell
  • 63Tierney
  • 27Roberts
  • 42McGregorSubstituted forRogicat 77'minutes
  • 8BrownBooked at 90mins
  • 14ArmstrongSubstituted forForrestat 72'minutes
  • 10DembeleSubstituted forBittonat 62'minutes
  • 9GriffithsBooked at 76mins

Substitutes

  • 3Izaguirre
  • 6Bitton
  • 7Ciftci
  • 18Rogic
  • 22Janko
  • 38Fasan
  • 49Forrest
Referee:
Paolo Silvio Mazzoleni
Attendance:
29,000

Match Stats

Home TeamFC AstanaAway TeamCeltic
Possession
Home50%
Away50%
Shots
Home1
Away1
Shots on Target
Home1
Away1
Corners
Home0
Away0
Fouls
Home0
Away0

Live Text

Match ends, FC Astana 1, Celtic 1.

Full Time

Second Half ends, FC Astana 1, Celtic 1.

Booking

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

Booking

Agim Ibraimi (FC Astana) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Substitution

Substitution, FC Astana. Djorde Despotovic replaces Junior Kabananga.

Substitution

Substitution, FC Astana. Agim Ibraimi replaces Abzal Beysebekov.

Goal!

Goal! FC Astana 1, Celtic 1. Leigh Griffiths (Celtic) left footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Patrick Roberts.

Substitution

Substitution, Celtic. Tomas Rogic replaces Callum McGregor.

Booking

Leigh Griffiths (Celtic) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Substitution

Substitution, Celtic. James Forrest replaces Stuart Armstrong.

Substitution

Substitution, Celtic. Nir Bitton replaces Moussa Dembele.

Substitution

Substitution, FC Astana. Serikzhan Muzhikov replaces Azat Nurgaliev.

Second Half

Second Half begins FC Astana 1, Celtic 0.

Half Time

First Half ends, FC Astana 1, Celtic 0.

Booking

Azat Nurgaliev (FC Astana) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Goal!

Goal! FC Astana 1, Celtic 0. Yuri Logvinenko (FC Astana) header from very close range to the top right corner. Assisted by Patrick Twumasi following a corner.

Kick Off

First Half begins.

Lineups are announced and players are warming up.

goal

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Wednesday 27th July 2016

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