Celtic’s UEFA Champions League campaign commenced on Tuesday with a trip to Rotterdam. There, they’d face a fiery Feyenoord side that claimed the Eredivisie title by a comfortable margin last term – and would be looking to right the wrongs of their previous European campaigns.
FEY: Wellenreuther; Hartman, Hancko, Trauner, Geertruida; Timber, Wieffer; Ivanusec, Stengs, Paixão; Minteh
CEL: Hart; Taylor, Scales, Lagerbielke, Johnston; Hatate, McGregor, O’Riley; Palma, Furuhashi, Maeda
Brendan Rodgers’ Celtic started brightly in the Netherlands, remaining resolute for much of the first half – until a sensational Calvin Stengs free-kick in stoppage time handed Feyenoord the lead in stoppage time. Poor goalkeeping from Joe Hart and a shoddily-organised wall allowed the forward to curl his effort into the bottom-right corner, sending De Kuip into sheer euphoria.
And at such a crucial moment in the match, the visitors struggled to cope with conceding and simply self-destructed in the second half. Gustaf Lagerbielke was dismissed after sending Stengs tumbling to the ground inside the penalty area, though Celtic were awarded some respite when Igor Paixão’s resulting spot-kick was denied by Hart.
But an already difficult challenge would become categorically impossible in the 68th minute, when Odin Holm was shown Celtic’s second red card of the match just ten minutes after his introduction. Going in high on Mats Wieffer was only ever going to have one outcome – and Brendan Rodgers’ side would look to pay the price when Lutsharel Geertruida slotted past Hart, though VAR spared their blushed as the right-back was found to be offside.
With fifteen minutes left to play, Alireza Jahankakhsh doubled the Dutch advantage. Slamming home from close range, the Iranian drifted into space to thump an effort into the roof of the net and kill off any remaining Celtic hopes of a sensational comeback.
Brendan Rodgers’ side will welcome Lazio to Celtic Park next – and it looks as though that fixture will be comfortably controlled by the Italian side, especially if tonight’s performance is anything to go by. Feyenoord travel to the Spanish capital to face Atletico Madrid.