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Astana 1-1 Celtic: Griffiths gives Hoops the edge

By July 27, 2016No Comments

Leigh Griffiths’ away goal has put Celtic in a commanding position in the Champions League qualifiers after a 1-1 draw in Astana.

The Hoops fell behind to a soft goal when Azat Nurgaliyev headed home inside the six-yard box from Patrick Twumasi’s corner in the first half.

Nurgaliyev almost made it two when he crashed a shot off the bar.

But Griffiths, who had been relatively quiet during the match, pounced to slam home an equaliser with 10 minutes remaining.

Brendan Rodgers’ men will fancy their chances of going through on August 3 after securing a priceless away goal and in front of a partisan crowd at Celtic Park.

It was an admirable performance from the Scottish champions which began brightly with Griffiths shooting wide.

However, they soon found themselves behind to the Kazakhstan champions thanks to familiar failings.

The Hoops looked fallible from set plays throughout their European campaign last season and once again they were caught out here with a simple goal.

Logvinenko profited from slack marking in the six-yard box to bullet a header beyond Gordon from Twumasi’s corner to put the hosts in front.

Things threatened to get worse for Celtic when Ambrose swung wildly at a clearance, slicing horribly into the path of Asat Nurgaliyev, but Gordon dug his defender out of trouble with a wonderful save to deny the attacker.

Nurgaliyev came close once more in the second half when he fired in a vicious shot which clattered the bar before being substituted.

Celtic looked to freshen things up themselves as Bitton replaced the largely ineffectual Moussa Dembele but it was his strike partner Griffiths who levelled the tie with 10 minutes remaining.

The impressive Patrick Roberts robbed Dmitri Shomko off the ball, found Griffiths in the box and he smashed the ball home beyond Nenad Eric.

Celtic were almost the architects of their own downfall in injury time though when Canas was allowed a free header but he couldn’t take advantage.

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