Result: Celtic suffer home defeat to AC Milan in Europa League Group H opener

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Result: Celtic suffer home defeat to AC Milan in Europa League Group H opener

The Scottish champions were still smarting from their 2-0 loss in Saturday’s Old Firm derby at Celtic Park when they had to compete with the Italians.

Celtic suffered their second succeeding home defeat as AC Milan secured a 3-1 triumph in their Europa League Group H opener.

The Scottish champions were still smarting from their 2-0 loss in Saturday’s Old Firm derby at Celtic Park when they had to compete with the Italian giants.

The Serie A side moistened a passionate start by the hosts in the 14th minute when midfielder Rade Krunic headed in a cross from Samuel Castillejo prior to Brahim Diaz added a second with a drive just prior to the break.

Celtic’s action was exceptional and Mohamed Elyounoussi minimized the deficit with a header from fellow second-half substitute Ryan Christie’s 76th-minute corner however Milan substitute Jens Petter Hauge clinched the win with a counter-attack goal in added time.

Defeat for the Bhoys on #UEL matchday one. #CELACM pic.twitter.com/hhEgry5r7D

— Celtic Football Club (@CelticFC) October 22, 2020

It was the first time Celtic have actually lost back-to-back games since December 2018, when they decreased to RB Salzburg and after that Hibernian however boss Neil Lennon will have been motivated by their second-half show when they declined to quit.

The 2-0 defeat by their Old Firm competitors Rangers believed shocked Celtic.

Lennon made 2 changes with strikers Leigh Griffiths and Albian Ajeti in as a collaboration for the first time, changing Patryk Klimala and Elyounoussi.

AC Milan boss Stefano Pioli made 5 changes to the side which beat competitors Inter 2-1 at the weekend to stay unbeaten this season and top of Serie A.

Nevertheless, evergreen Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who scored two times against Inter, was once again leading the line at the age of 39 and making his first appearance at Parkhead since beginning as a substitute for Ajax in a Champions League qualifier in 2001.

Neil Lennon’s Celtic started well (Jane Barlow/PA)

When once again there were no fans enabled inside the arena however Celtic started as if they were being cheered on by a jam-packed home.

Nevertheless, they were struck by an Italian sucker punch.

Castillejo wandered in from the right and flighted a cross in for Krunic to get in in between protectors Stephen Welsh and Shane Duffy to direct his header past keeper Vasilis Barkas.

Celtic maintained a good pace as they battled back however then the Serie A side started to sometimes bent their muscles and by the period they had actually doubled their lead.

In the 42nd minute Ibrahimovic sent out defender Theo Hernandez racing down the left and when he passed inside to Diaz, the attacker nicely side- stepped Duffy and Callum McGregor and slotted a shot low past Barkas.

Lennon changed Welsh and Griffiths with Elyounoussi and Christie for the start of the second half and went to a back 4 in an improved development with some early pleasure.

In the 51st minute, Celtic wing-back Diego Laxalt, on loan from the visitors, ended an appealing move by driving just over the bar from the edge of the box.

⚽ ELYOUNOUSSI! @Moielyo pulls one back– begun! pic.twitter.com/ayjCXeqFRf

— Celtic Football Club (@CelticFC) October 22, 2020

Tom Rogic changed skipper Scott Brown in the 64th minute however it was another replacement, Elyounoussi, who offered Celtic a lifeline when he headed in from Christie’s shipment.

The home side offered it their all in search of a leveller however in the second minute of 3 added, Milan broke and Alexis Saelemaekers played in Hauge and his fellow substitute slipped the ball past Barkas.

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