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Celtic’s UEFA Champions League campaign kicked off on Tuesday with a visit to Rotterdam, where they faced a formidable Feyenoord side that comfortably secured the Eredivisie title last season. Feyenoord was eager to rectify their past European shortcomings.
Brendan Rodgers’ Celtic began the match strongly in the Netherlands, holding their ground for most of the first half. However, just before halftime, Calvin Stengs stunned the visitors with a sensational free-kick, putting Feyenoord in the lead. Joe Hart’s questionable goalkeeping and a poorly-organized wall allowed Stengs to curl the ball into the bottom-right corner, sending De Kuip into a frenzy.
Following the crucial goal, the Celtic team struggled to recover and suffered a self-inflicted collapse in the second half. Gustaf Lagerbielke received a red card after bringing down Stengs inside the penalty area. Celtic caught a break when Igor Paixão’s resulting penalty was saved by Hart.
However, the challenge became nearly insurmountable in the 68th minute when Odin Holm was shown Celtic’s second red card of the match just ten minutes after coming on as a substitute. His high challenge on Mats Wieffer had only one outcome. Brendan Rodgers’ side looked to be in further trouble, but VAR came to their rescue as it revealed that the right-back was offside when the goal was scored.
With fifteen minutes left in the match, Alireza Jahankakhsh extended Feyenoord’s lead. He slammed the ball into the roof of the net from close range, effectively dashing any hopes of a Celtic comeback.
Brendan Rodgers’ team will host Lazio at Celtic Park next, but based on tonight’s performance, the Italian side appears to be in control. Feyenoord will travel to the Spanish capital to face Atletico Madrid in their next fixture.
- FEY: Wellenreuther; Hartman, Hancko, Trauner, Geertruida; Timber, Wieffer; Ivanusec, Stengs, Paixão; Minteh
- CEL: Hart; Taylor, Scales, Lagerbielke, Johnston; Hatate, McGregor, O’Riley; Palma, Furuhashi, Maeda