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2005-07-27: Artmedia Bratislava 5-0 Celtic, Champions League
|Match Pictures | Matches: 2005 - 2006 | 2005-2006 Pictures|
- Strachan had signed a number of new players prior to the game; Artur Boruc at that point on loan from Legia Warsaw for the season for £200k; Paul Telfer from Southampton for £200k and a 2 year contract; Mo Camara on a Bosman from Burnley; Adam Virgo for various sized sums from Brighton with a 4-year contract (he arrived with a knee knack that required an operation keeping him out till the second week of August); Jeremie Aliadiere on loan from Arsenal for the season; Shunsuke Nakamura for £2.75mill from Reggina and a 3 year contract
- Chris Sutton was still at the club but would leave on a free in January 2006 - he broke his cheek bone in this game following a collision with Neil Lennon's knee; David Fernandez would depart on a free transfer to Dundee; Agathe would be released at the January transfer window
- Departures in the closed season just prior: Paul Lambert - released to join Livingston as player/manager; Momo Sylla had left on a free to Leicester City; Robert Douglas had also gone the same route for the same fee; Jackie McNamara had got tired of waiting around for an offer from the Board and had joined Wolves on a free; Joos Valgaeren had left under freedom of contract and joined Club Brugge; Stephane Henchoz had left to join Wigan; Ulrik Laursen had been sold to OB Odense for the pitifully low figure of £50k; Magnus Hedman had packed it in;
- Of the available squad a number were out; Virgo with the previously mentioned knee knack; Stephen Pearson with some undefined injury; Fernandez was not considered for the trip; Didier Agathe was out with a calf muscle injury; Nakamura was going through work permit procedures and unavailable; John Kennedy was still in long-term recovery from his own personal knee nightmare; Gary Irvine, a young right back who played in the first two pre-season games was getting over a broken foot picked up in the pre-season.
- A number of players made less than expected first team competitive debuts; Paul Telfer. Mo Camara (who looked completely at sea); Zurawski (who picked up an ankle injury which kept him out of the next game); Aliadiere as a sub;
- No one quite knew what to expect from Strachan - it certainly wasn't this.
ReviewGordon Strachan's first European game in charge of Celtic ends in total disaster and wipe-out. Not an auspicious start. Competitve debuts for Telfer, Camara, Zurawski and Aliadiere.
Cobej, Debnar, Durica, Kotula, Vascak (Mikulic 72), Obzera, Tchur, Halenar, Borbely, Fodrek, Kozak.
Subs Not Used: Kollar, Stano, Hellebrand, Gomez, Gajdos, Burak.
Goals: Halenar 43, Vascak 57, Halenar 75, Mikulic 78, Halenar 90.
Marshall, Telfer, Varga, Balde, Camara, Zurawski (Maloney 60), Lennon, Petrov, Thompson (Aliadiere 66), Hartson, Sutton (McGeady 17).
Subs Not Used: Boruc, McManus, Wallace, Beattie.
Booked: Petrov, Balde.
Ref: Selcuk Dereli (Turkey).
- Match Report (see end of page below)
- Match Report from PA
GORDON Strachan had been dreaming of his UEFA Champions League debut as a manager, but tonight that dream became a nightmare as his Celtic side fell to a shock 5-0 defeat in Bratislava against Artmedia.
The dilapidated and inhospitable Tehelne Polie Stadium was the stage for Strachan’s European bow, but the manager is unlikely to remember the setting of this game and more the result which has left Celtic with an uphill task in the return leg.
The announcement of the team lines before this match revealed that after much deliberation Strachan opted to go with goalkeeper David Marshall ahead of new signing Artur Boruc, while his Polish compatriot Maciej Zurawski made his first competitive start for Celtic. In his pre-match team talk the manager had stressed the importance of work-rate to his players and the need to give their Slovak opponents as little room as possible to operate.
But even after the sun had dipped beyond the hills above the Bratislava sky line the temperature remained high and the atmosphere muggy and with this standing as the first competitive game of the season for Celtic his team’s stamina may have entered his concerns. Yet despite the heat, Celtic got off to a quick start, pinning Artmedia back in their own half and testing the defence with balls through to John Hartson and his strike partner Zurawski.
Artmedia’s response was to send balls down either flank and it was just one such foray, when the ball was worked in to Balazs Borbely, that Chris Sutton was injured in the 14th minute as he charged down the midfielder’s long range shot.The big striker was stretchered off after taking a knee in the face from Neil Lennon and this injury was and perhaps will continue to be a serious concern for Strachan who brought on Aiden McGeady and pushed Stilian Petrov into the middle of the park from the right.
Celtic struggled to settle in the minutes following this change while Artmedia took heart and looked dangerous from a series of set pieces.
Then in the 22nd minute Juraj Halenar got in behind Bobo Balde after a ball down the line from Branislav Fodrek and fired well wide of the target for the first clear cut, shooting chance of the match. Moments later Balde then blocked a shot from Blazej Vascak and Artmedia continued to sustain the pressure.
But gradually Celtic began to come into the game again and find space on this tight pitch, with McGeady testing the keeper with a curling free kick from around 23 yards out and then Paul Telfer hammering a shot on goal after breaking into the box that Juraj Cobej again palmed away.
Perhaps somewhat incredibly it was Bobo Balde who next caused fear among this particularly physical Artmedia back four in the 32nd minute, with a rampaging run from inside his own half that forced a corner.
Celtic failed to take advantage of this set piece and the next chance fell for Artmedia left back Tchur six minutes later, who saw his long range, low rasping shot palmed away by Marshall at his near post.
Then in the 42nd minute Halenar snatched the opener after Vascak took advantage of a static Celtic defence. This time it was left-back Mo Camara who found himself on the wrong side of his man and Vascak, who had looked dangerous throughout the half, cut into the box and sent a ball across goal to the unmarked Halenar who coolly put it away for Artmedia’s first.
Artmedia actually enjoyed two chances in the remaining minutes in this half and Marshall did well to save a header at his near post from Jan Durica and a long range free kick that proved to be the last kick of the ball in this half.
In the period after the restart, Celtic struggled with the same problem they had faced during the first 45. That of supplying the front two with shooting chances.
But then, in the 57th minute, Halenar turned supplier for Vascak cutting a near identical ball to the one that set up his own goal, across the face of the box for the midfielder to fire home. The chance actually followed a Hartson shot on goal, but Celtic were again caught out on the break, with Camara again giving his man far too much space at the back post and this quest for a valuable away win became a salvage mission for Strachan’s side.
The manager then went for broke with just over 20 minutes remaining, introducing Shaun Maloney and Jeremie Aliadiere, and the little Scottish striker came within inches of beating the keeper. Aiden McGeady also scooped the ball over the bar from inside the six yard box, but then, in the space of two minutes, the unthinkable happened as Artmedia hit Celtic twice and went 4-0 ahead.
It was to the Slovakian side’s credit that they did not shut up shop with a two goal lead in the bag and first Halenar, in the 76th minute and then Mikulic just two minutes later beat Marshall with long range efforts after the defence were troubled by Artmedia's pace and through balls.
With seconds remaining on the clock it seemed as though the ordeal was over for Celtic, but then Halenar got in behind a static defence and rifled another low drive beyond Marshall for his hat-trick and a fifth goal that may have buried Celtic’s UEFA Champions League hopes.
Strachan commented in his pre-match press conference that he had much to consider in the build up to the game and after this result in Bratislava he will have plenty of food for thought for thought before the return leg in Glasgow.
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