Thursday, 26 August 2010

Utrecht 4 Celtic 0: Bhoys shown European door by Wolf

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mJpooyvVf70endofvid

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By Stephen Mcgowan

Euro woe: Ricky van Wolfswinkel (left) scores his second goal from a penalty kick


When the inevitable post-mortem begins on another atrocious performance on continental soil, however, a glance in a mirror will betray the true culprits.

After a day of persistent and torrential rain, this formidable arena passed a pitch inspection.

How Celtic must wish the elements had contrived to swallow them whole after a display of Artmedia proportions.

In Bratislava, Lennon and Co withered in blistering temperatures. Here, his team were swept away by wave after wave of Utrecht attacks, aided and abetted by two penalty decisions in the opening 20 minutes and a Ricky van Wolfswinkel hat-trick.

Kamikaze defending told half the story; the failure to manage one significant effort on goal the rest.

After a composed 2-0 win in Glasgow, this was a capitulation bordering on the shameful.


Out we go: Celtic's coach Neil Lennon can't believe it


For Celtic and for Scottish football, these are increasingly humiliating times.

On a truly dispiriting night in the Netherlands, Neil Lennon's team defied those who suspected they hastephen md plumbed every conceivable depth on their European travels.

A hapless, inept display in the Galgenwaard Stadium owed much to a card-happy, attention-seeking Spanish referee.

Referee Carlos Carballo enjoys a reputation back in Spain for giving a penalty a game. Last night, the erratic whistler excelled himself, awarding the home team two in a frenetic opening.

The second, signalled after Dries Mertens took advantage of casual play by Daniel Majstorovic on the right touchline, looked distinctly dubious, Lukasz Zaluska appearing to make contact with ball rather than man as the winger advanced on goal.

The first seemed less debatable, Utrecht captain Michael Silberbauer thrusting into the area and going over under duress from Jos Hooiveld.

The defender had spoken beforehand of making a name for himself in his homeland, yet this surely wasn't what he had in mind.

Celtic protested both decisions vigorously, while Lennon toiled to contain his simmering anger as he remonstrated with the hapless official at half-time.

Yet mere protestations could not obscure a horrid reality. On both occasions, van Wolfswinkel waited until the clamour died, then converted both despite Zaluska twice getting fingertips to the ball.

With barely a quarter of the game gone, Celtic's apparently healthy first-leg margin for error had disappeared.

With it went their composure and their optimism. In truth, it was a calamitous start which felt oddly familiar.

Lennon had sampled this often enough as a player. A month ago, the Celtic boss witnessed a dodgy penalty award against his team for Braga.

So it was here once more. In possession of a two-goal lead, the decision to rest on it had seemed mature and sensible.

Yet, in the mere blink of a first-half eye, it became almost foolhardy. An inept, disjointed beginning set the tone.

There were times when the mere art of passing a ball to a team-mate seemed completely beyond the players in the garish bumble-bee outfits.

Celtic may have worn the shirts, but it was Utrecht who buzzed with intent. The panic had begun even before the first spot-kick.

Fleet-footed home winger Mertens stung the palms of Zaluska's hands with a curling, swirling free-kick, thereby confirming his reputation as the man who makes things happen.

Not all of it admirable, though. He was fortunate to remain on the field after aiming a first-half headbutt at Scott Brown.

The incident exacerbated Celtic's anger with referee Carballo; it was a ridiculous decision to merely book the home player before meting out the same punishment to Brown for dissent.

The Celtic skipper fixed his opposite number with a stare which suggested retribution wouldn't be long in arriving, yet this was no time for a further lapse in composure.

So many of the problems were self-imposed. Much was expected from the experience and stature of Majstorovic, yet this was a careless and unimpressive night for the Swede alongside Hooiveld.

Utrecht, frankly, looked capable of scoring at will.


Hungry like the Wolf: Ricky van Wolfswinkel celebrates his hat-trick


Hooiveld's foul for the first penalty was followed by Majstorovic inexplicably passing the ball to Mertens on the right touchline in lax fashion.

The wide man flicked the ball over his opponent's head and used his dazzling pace to advance on goal, with right-back Cha Du-Ri nowhere in sight.

Television pictures seemed to confirm that Zaluska contacted with the ball before clattering the player.

The referee saw it otherwise. It might have been worse when Mertens inexplicably struck a sixyard shot into the ground and on to the bar with Zaluska stranded.

Yet the damage was merely delayed until moments into the second half, as van Wolfswinkel claimed his hat-trick with a shocking goal from Celtic's perspective.

A mere 90 seconds of the second period had elapsed when Nana Asare ran from the halfway line and fed his strike partner on the right side of the box.

Van Wolfswinkel seemed blocked from taking a shot by the trinity of Majstorovic, Hooiveld and Ledley. Inexplicably, however, he was allowed to strike a left-footed effort which evaded all three and beat a hapless Zaluska.

Moments later, Brown was removed for his own good. Averaging six yellow cards a game in Spain, the blue-shirted referee lived up to his reputation, cautioning players from both sides at the merest hint of a raindrop.

And there were plenty of those. Utrecht's third goal changed the emphasis of the game, a nervous energy setting in over the home sections of the ground.

A fourth, in 62 minutes, changed all that, as substitute Barry Maguire thumped a first-time shot from 25 yards skidding low past Zaluska.

Still Majstorovic refused to learn from the error of his ways. Van Wolfswinkel was inches away from adding his fourth of the night - and Utrecht's fifth - when the Swede again gifted away possession on the edge of his area.

That Celtic's first corner arrived in 88 minutes told its own tale. Celtic's exit from a second European competition before the end of August had been an inglorious affair.

UTRECHT: Vorm; Cornelisse, Nesu, Schut, Silberbauer, Mertens, Asare (Maguire 52), Lensky, Wuytens, Duplan, van Wolfswinkel (Oar 90). Booked: Nesu, Silberbauer, Mertens.

CELTIC: Zaluska; Juarez (Ki 65), Majstorovic, Hooiveld, Cha, Brown (Maloney 50), Ledley, Kayal, Forrest, Samaras (McCourt 71), Fortune. Booked: Zaluska, Brown, Kayal.

Referee: Carlos Carballo (Spain).




source :dailymail
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