Champions League - Celtic draw at Maribor to boost qualification hopes

Champions League play-off first leg, Stadion Ljudski vrt - Maribor 1 (Bohar 14) Celtic 1 (McGregor 6)

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Celtic manager Ronny Delia looks on during the Scottish Premiership League Match between Celtic and Dundee United, at Celtic Park on August 16, 2014

Scottish champions Celtic earned a 1-1 draw with Maribor in Slovenia to boost their hopes of reaching the Champions League group stage for a third straight season.

Both goals came in the first 14 minutes with Callum McGregor slotting the opening goal for Ronny Deila's side on six minutes only for Damjan Bohar to restore parity with a cool finish eight minutes later.

The return leg is at Celtic Park on Tuesday with Celtic needing to avoid conceding a goal to secure their qualification.

Celtic were only competing in the Champions League play-offs after the Court of Arbitration for Sport rejected Legia Warsaw's bid to be provisionally reinstated.

Legia took their case to the Swiss-based court after their punishment for fielding an ineligible player was rejected by UEFA's appeal body, despite beating the Scottish champions 6-1 on aggregate in the penultimate qualifier.

Maribor and Celtic had chances to grab the winner, but Celtic were well worth their point. And may even have won it with Beram Kayal appearing to be denied a clear penalty in the second half while Charlie Mulgrew saw a header nodded off the line in the first half.


6' - GOAL! Maribor 0-1 Celtic: McGregor slams the ball into the empty net after Handanovic had made the stop from Berget. Celtic lead 1-0.

14' - GOAL! Maribor 1-1 Celtic: Maribor level as Bohar slides the ball beyond Gordon. The middle of that Celtic defence cut wide open. Just like in Warsaw.

20' - CHANCE! Mulgrew with a header that is knocked off the line from the Johansen corner. Celtic almost 2-1 ahead there.

30' - CHANCE! Celtic earn another corner here. Stokes throws in the corner, but Van Dijk's header comes off Johansen on the line, who was offside. Free header. Celtic should really be 2-1 clear.

49' - CHANCE! Tavares drives the ball inches wide before Bahar mishits a shot well wide of goal. Real chance for Maribor to lead 2-1, but not taken.

59' - SAVE! Ibraimi with the header at goal. Fine stop by Gordon before Tavares is flagged for offside. Would have counted for the home side.

70' - CHANCE! Glorious chance for Johansen to give Celtic the lead, but he takes a clumsy touch when he looked set to give the visitors a 2-1 lead. Handanovic punches clear at his feet.

73' - PENALTY APPEAL! Celtic denied a clear-cut penalty by the looks of things there when Kayal was fouled.

82' - SAVE! Celtic with plenty of bodies behind the ball before Mertelj unloads a shot from distance. Fine, fine save by Gordon to nudge wide.


Prior to tonight, Celtic had failed to score more than 1 goal in any of their previous 7 European away games (including qualifiers).

Celtic have enjoyed just one victory in their last seven European away games (incl. qualifiers), losing five and drawing one.



Will Celtic make it through? Must have a decent chance, but you wouldn't say for certain against a side who are very dangerous on the counter attack. Will start as favourites, and with a 60,000 crowd in the East End of Glasgow, the Scottish champions can almost reach out and touch the £15 million that comes with qualifying.



Callum McGregor (Celtic): The youngster has now scored three goals in three qualifying ties, but produced a tireless performance in working back to help out his defenders. Fine goal was matched by outstanding effort.


Celtic: Gordon 7, Izaguirre 5, Van Dijk 7, Mulgrew 7, Denayer 6, Lustig 6, Johansen 8, Kayal 7, McGregor 8, Stokes 7, Berget 7 subs: Ambrose 6, Biton 6, Griffiths 6

Maribor: Handanovič 7, Šuler 6, Rajčevič 6, Viler 6, Filipović 7, Ibraimi 7, Derviševič 6, Vršič 6, Stojanovič 5, Bohar 6, Tavares 7 subs: Sallalich 6, Mertelj 6, Mendy 6


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