12152017

Celtic win 5-2 in Champions League qualifier

Leigh Griffiths scores

Leigh Griffiths headed Celtic’s second of the night

Celtic took a giant step towards the Champions League group stage with an extraordinary play-off first-leg win over Israeli side Hapoel Beer Sheva.

Brendan Rodgers’ team were utterly dominant in the opening half, scoring through Tom Rogic and a terrific double from Leigh Griffiths.

The wheels fell off suddenly early in the second half as Lucio Maranhao and Maor Melikson netted.

But Moussa Dembele headed in a fourth and Scott Brown rattled home a fifth.

The two sides meet again in Beersheba on Tuesday but that game will have to go some to match a brilliant and madcap European night at Celtic Park.

Craig Gordon’s magnificent save from a Maharan Radi header preserved Celtic’s lead at 4-2 and Hapoel had a penalty claim turned down shortly before Brown’s goal.

Celtic celebrate<!–

A late goal by Brown (centre) restored Celtic’s three-goal advantage

One half, three goals

For Celtic, it had been so easy for so long.

Griffiths was so involved in the first half it was difficult to keep a check on how many versions of himself were out on the pitch. Scott Sinclair’s pace troubled Beer Sheva, Rogic had a field day and Brown led the side well.

Celtic were ahead when Griffiths dinked a beautiful ball over the visiting defence to Sinclair, who was promptly taken out by goalkeeper David Goresh. It would have been a penalty had it not been for Rogic following up to drive Celtic into the lead.

Soon after, Sinclair went down in the box but a big shout for a spot-kick was waved away. It hardly seemed to matter because in Celtic’s performance there was always the promise of more goals. And they came.

Kolo Toure strode out of defence and found Sinclair, who put James Forrest away down the right. His cross was nutted home brilliantly by Griffiths.

The third was even better, a sumptuous Griffiths free-kick from wide to the right of the Hapoel penalty area. The striker curled into the top corner. Total class.

Second-half scare

Maor Melikson celebrates<!–

Melikson (centre) brought Hapoel back to 3-2

Hapoel had no shots on goal and, seemingly, no hope of turning it around, but they did.

From a counter-attack, Lucio struck from close range to make it 3-1. From another advance down the left two minutes later, Melikson drove home from a central position and suddenly it was 3-2.

Celtic were in shock, but gathered themselves to score a fourth. Griffiths was involved again, swinging in a corner for Dembele to head home.

Gordon’s superb save from Radi was as impressive as it was critical.

And then Brown added the dramatic flourish, his first shot fluffed, his second rifled into the Hapoel net to send Celtic Park back into a blissful state.

To call it a classic does not quite cover it.

Live Text

Match ends, Celtic 5, Hapoel Be’er Sheva 2.

Second Half ends, Celtic 5, Hapoel Be’er Sheva 2.

Loai Taha (Hapoel Be’er Sheva) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Moussa Dembele (Celtic) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Loai Taha (Hapoel Be’er Sheva).

Attempt saved. Maor Bar Buzaglo (Hapoel Be’er Sheva) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Tony Nwakaeme.

Foul by James Forrest (Celtic).

Ofir Davidzada (Hapoel Be’er Sheva) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

James Forrest (Celtic) is shown the yellow card.

Nir Bitton (Celtic) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Foul by Nir Bitton (Celtic).

Maor Bar Buzaglo (Hapoel Be’er Sheva) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Corner, Celtic. Conceded by David Goresh.

Attempt saved. Scott Sinclair (Celtic) right footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Moussa Dembele.

Kolo Touré (Celtic) is shown the yellow card.

Foul by Nir Bitton (Celtic).

Maor Melikson (Hapoel Be’er Sheva) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Goal! Celtic 5, Hapoel Be’er Sheva 2. Scott Brown (Celtic) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom right corner.

Attempt missed. Scott Brown (Celtic) left footed shot from outside the box misses to the left. Assisted by James Forrest.

Substitution, Hapoel Be’er Sheva. Vladimir Brown replaces Maharan Radi.

Foul by Saidy Janko (Celtic).

Maor Melikson (Hapoel Be’er Sheva) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Attempt blocked. Nir Bitton (Celtic) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by James Forrest.

Attempt missed. Moussa Dembele (Celtic) right footed shot from the right side of the box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by James Forrest.

Substitution, Hapoel Be’er Sheva. Maor Bar Buzaglo replaces Ovidiu Hoban.

Foul by Leigh Griffiths (Celtic).

Tony Nwakaeme (Hapoel Be’er Sheva) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Attempt saved. Maharan Radi (Hapoel Be’er Sheva) header from the centre of the box is saved in the top centre of the goal. Assisted by Ben Bitton with a cross.

Foul by Scott Brown (Celtic).

Maor Melikson (Hapoel Be’er Sheva) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Goal! Celtic 4, Hapoel Be’er Sheva 2. Moussa Dembele (Celtic) header from very close range to the centre of the goal. Assisted by Leigh Griffiths with a cross following a corner.

Corner, Celtic. Conceded by Shir Tzedek.

Attempt blocked. James Forrest (Celtic) right footed shot from the right side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Saidy Janko with a cross.

Attempt missed. Kieran Tierney (Celtic) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by James Forrest.

Substitution, Celtic. Moussa Dembele replaces Tomas Rogic.

Substitution, Hapoel Be’er Sheva. Ben Sahar replaces Lucio Maranhão.

Corner, Celtic. Conceded by Ofir Davidzada.

Substitution, Celtic. Saidy Janko replaces Mikael Lustig.

Substitution, Celtic. Nir Bitton replaces Callum McGregor.

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

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