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2002-07-24: Celtic 1-3 Ajax, Friendly
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Quick ReviewAjax went into the lead after seven minutes and doubled that advantage just two minutes later.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic opened the scoring when he met a cross from John O'Brien to slot home into the bottom corner of the net. Hoops goalkeeper Rab Douglas was left standing again a couple of minutes later when Mido Ahmed Hossam cracked a shot from the 18-yard line off the right-hand post and over the line.
Ajax were celebrating yet again after 22 minutes. This time Ibrahimovic nodded the ball into the path of Hossam who slid home from close range to claim his second goal of the night.
Celtic looked far more convincing in the second half and Chris Sutton could have pulled a goal back just seconds after the re-start. He looked certain to squeeze a downward header home at the far post but he was denied by an impressive save from the Ajax goalkeeper who just managed to turn the ball past the upright.
After 58 minutes, new signing David Fernandez - O'Neill's only capture so far of the close season - displayed some impressive footwork to deliver the ball into the path of Sutton who prodded the ball home from six yards.
Despite the earlier burst of activity from Celtic, they could not add to their tally and, with five minutes of the game still remaining, the stadium was already half-empty.
TriviaCeltic manager Martin O'Neill claimed in the matchday programme that pre-season friendly results do not matter as much as fitness - and it's probably just as well.
Three goals in a 14-minute spell in the first half set the tone for this encounter as Celtic struggled their way through their first home game since the end of last season.
Douglas, McNamara, Sutton (Healy 45), Mjallby (Boyd 68), Agathe (Smith 68), Lambert (Lennon 45), Petrov, Fernandez, Thompson (Guppy 5, Petta 68), Hartson, Larsson (Sylla 46).
Subs not used:- Gould, Lynch.
Goal:- Sutton 58.
Lobont, Bergdolmo, Chivu, Pasanen, O’Brien (Winter 46), Scherrer, Van Der Vaart (Campos 67), Seedorf, Trabelsi (Yakubu 46), Ibrahimovic (Van Der Meyde 46), Hossam (Machlas 74).
Subs not used:- Stekelenburg.
Goals:- Ibrahimovic 7, Hossam 9, 21.
Ref:- S Dougal.
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