Celtic and Manchester City played out a 3-3 draw Wednesday evening, with each club taking a crucial point in Group C of the UEFA Champions League. The home side were in fine from and showed great spirit in a match filled with excitement and drama.
Celtic 3 Manchester City 3: Three Thoughts
Celtic jumped out to an early lead in the third minute, as an excellent free-kick routine saw the ball crossed into the box and chested into the back of the net by forward Moussa Dembélé. City would answer back quickly, as midfielder Fernandinho levelled the match with a goal in the 12th minute.
Celtic would reclaim the lead only eight minutes later, as a cross from left-back Kieran Tierney deflected off Raheem Sterling to give the hosts a 2-1 advantage.
But Sterling giveth and Sterling taketh away. The young English winger made up for his mistake with an equalising goal in the 28th minute, from an incredibly accurate pass from David Silva. The sides went into half-time at 2-2, but the second half picked up right where the first left off.
City defender Aleksander Kolarov failed to properly clear a cross from the left flank, resulting in Dembélé scoring a spectacular goal off his own volley. The Frenchman’s brace gave Celtic back the lead just two minutes into the second half.
David Silva was not done opening up the Celtic defence with his passing, however. A great sequence to Sergio Aguero in the 55th minute saw a shot saved by goalkeeper Craig Gordon, but then a rebound put away by Nolito to draw the match 3-3.
After so much intensity, both sides seemed understandably fatigued and the same attacking pace was not seen in the final minutes.
City respond well on three occasions
Although they were out-worked in much of the first half and should have been able to find a victory Wednesday night, Manchester City and manager Pep Guardiola should be commended for equalising on three separate occasions. The passing game was not a strength as it normally is and City had much difficulty breaking down a disciplined Celtic defence.
Celtic’s pressing brings success
Celtic and manager Brendan Rodgers could have come into the match feeling timid. A 7-0 humiliation at the hands of Barcelona in their first Champions League group stage match may have seen the Bhoys come out in a more defensive mindset.
That was certainly not the case on Wednesday. Celtic’s high-press not only saw their attack get forward in a positive manner, but their frenetic and passionate marking of City players kept Pep Guardiola’s squad from getting their passing combinations rolling.
Celtic will play a role in how the group finishes
With Barcelona now on top of the group with six points, Celtic know that they will have a major impact on how Group C will finish.
Even after a big defeat to the Blaugrana, their performance will give them confidence heading into the away fixture at City and their two matches with Borussia Mönchengladbach.
MANCHESTER CITY: Bravo, Zabaleta, Otamendi, Kolarov, Clichy (Stones 73’), Fernandinho, Sterling, Gundogan, Silva, Nolito (Fernando 76’), Sergio Aguero
Unused subs: Caballero, Sagna, Navas, Iheanacho, Sané
CELTIC: Gordon, Lustig, Toure, Sviatchenko, Tierney, Brown, Bitton (Griffiths 84’), Sinclair, Rogic (Armstrong 57’), Forrest (Roberts 81’), Dembele
Unused subs: Vries, Simunovic, Gamboa, McGregor
REFEREE: Nicola Rizzoli