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Feyenoord mark Champions League return with emphatic win over nine-man Celtic

Feyenoord mark Champions League return with emphatic win over nine-man Celtic

Feyenoord marked their return to the Champions League group stages after six years with a comfortable 2-0 win over nine-men Celtic.

The Eredivisie title holders have earned back-to-back victories in the elite tournament after suffering defeats in their previous 12 outings.

Determined to kick off their Champions League campaign with a positive result, both teams were full of attacking intent and assertive tackles from the get-go.

Celtic’s Reo Hatate was gifted the first two notable opportunities of the encounter courtesy of a lapse in concentration from the hosts.

However, his first attempt lacked conviction and was easily handled by Feyenoord goalkeeper Timon Wellenreuther, while Gernot Trauner reacted quickly to block the second.

Both teams were guilty of several sloppy moments in the opening 45 minutes, but their complacency continued to go unpunished as the half progressed.

Celtic’s Daizen Maeda got behind Quilindschy Hartman but saw his shot impressively tipped wide by Wellenreuther, who refused to be beaten between the sticks.

Maeda was then caught out by Hartman, affording the left-back a free run at the Celtic final third, but his fierce effort cannoned off Gustaf Lagerbielke and deflected wide.

Feyenoord were marginally the better side in the first half, and their attacking endeavour was finally rewarded on the stroke of half-time with Calvin Stengs curling an ambitious free-kick past Joe Hart’s clutches.

The second half was certainly more entertaining than the first, with Celtic reduced to ten men just after the hour mark as Lagerbielke was handed his marching orders after two bookable offences.

His second infringement handed Feyenoord a chance to double their advantage from the penalty spot, but Igor Paixao couldn’t outfox Hart, who kept his side in the tie with an impressive save.

Despite Hart’s heroics, things went from bad to worse for Celtic just four minutes later, with Odin Thiago Holm being shown a straight red for a high lunge on Mats Wieffer.

Lutsharel Geertruida thought he had doubled the lead for the hosts following a smart finish from the resulting free-kick, but celebrations were cut short by VAR ruling the goal out for offside.

Feyenoord finally got their second goal in the 76th minute when Alireza Jahanbakhsh latched on to Alistair Johnston’s headed clearance and smashed the ball home.

Ondrej Lingr also saw his goal disallowed for offside in the final knockings of the game, but it mattered little as Arne Slot’s side ultimately extended their winning streak to four games across all competitions.

Celtic were good value for their performance until an untimely capitulation in the second half resulted in their second defeat in five outings.

With difficult clashes against Lazio and Atletico Madrid on the horizon, failure to pick up a positive result against their Dutch counterparts significantly hurts their chances of reaching the Champions League knockout stages for the first time since 2012/13.

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