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Celtic pay penalty as PSG grasp three points against run of play

Celtic FC 2

Hendry 13, Aitchison 53

Paris Saint-Germain 3

Guclu 38, Postolachi 61, Weah 67
  • Tuesday, 12 September 2017
  • Dumbarton Football Stadium
  • Under 19´s
  • UEFA Youth League

The youth representatives of Celtic and PSG traded blows in a scintillating match which saw five goals, a missed penalty and 22 of the finest young players in Europe as both teams kicked off their UEFA Youth League campaigns.

Both clubs have heavily benefited from their youth academies in recent years with PSG producing the like of Champions League winner Nicolas Anelka and Celtic seeing Kieran Tierney and Shaun Maloney come through their ranks so this was a fantastic opportunity to see the beginnings of a fantastic career for some of these players, and what better place to showcase your talents than in the UEFA Youth League.

Celtic had the better of the opening exchanges as their electric football, usually spearheaded by Calvin Miller, Ewan Henderson and especially Michael Johnston, who impressed throughout the 90 minutes, ripped apart PSG’s back four. Beautiful link up play by Millerand Johnston didn’t give PSG a moment to compose themselves as they were forced into many clumsy challenges gifting Celtic free-kicks in dangerous areas but the home team failed to make anything of these set piece opportunities with McInroy, Hendry and Hill all chancing their arm but ultimately not having enough dip and swerve to give their team an early lead.

Celtic did put themselves in front on the 12th minutes, though, when Henderson won the ball on the edge of PSG’s box, he then fed the ball to Jack Aitchison whose mazy run to the byline was too much for Moussa Sissako who swiped away Aitchison’s feet giving Celtic a spot-kick opportunity in the process. Sissako was making his UEFA Youth League debut but was thrown in at the deep end as his opposite attacker turned Sissako inside out causing the 16-year-old to bring down the striker. Regan Hendry calmly struck the ball into the bottom right corner to give Celtic the lead, much to Sissako’s disappointment.

Despite taking the lead and controlling the early play, Celtic knew that PSG were not the team to be soft with as they have the potential to turn a game in an instant, so the boys in green charged up the pitch trying to add a second. Calvin Miller once again won the ball high up the pitch and drilled the ball across the box narrowly outwith the reach of the sliding Aitchison.

PSG had been building well in the first half hour with good interplay between Bernede, Moussa Diaby and Alec Georgen but whenever they found themselves in the final third, their attacks seemed to peter out with Meterhan Guclu being transparent in the game thus far. Bernede and Georgen were two bright lights for PSG throughout the match and the experience was there to see as both players had been in the 2016 UEFA Youth League runners up team, Georgen also won the UEFA European Under-17 Championship with France in 2015 and has already appeared for the PSG senior team. The captain is looking like one of the best up and coming fullbacks in Europe.

Georgen had a big hand in PSG’s equaliser as he was played down the right by Diaby where he chipped a ball to the penalty spot for Guclu to direct a beautiful header against the left post and in. The goal really came out of nowhere but this highlighted the quality PSG have even when they seem down.

PSG really got the wind in their sails after the goal which meant that the half-time whistle couldn’t come quick enough for Celtic as they looked to regroup and dominate the opening minutes of the second half.

  • Half Time:
  • Celtic FC
  • 1-1
  • Paris Saint-Germain

And that’s what they did. Mark Hill is the youngest player in Scotland to be included in a match day squad after he travelled with Hamilton Academical to Ross County in 2012 so the talent in Hill had been evident for a long while and the gleam still hasn’t worn off as he sent a beautifully weighted ball to Aitchison who lost out to the PSG ‘keeper Cibois but the ball fell to Henderson with a golden chance as Cibois was back pedalling to his goal. Henderson failed to capitalise with his first effort straight at the 19-year-old and the rebound being drilled across the goal mouth with no one to tap the ball home.

They took the lead once again soon after, though, when Henderson sent the ball through a crowded box straight to Aitchison for him to stroke the ball under Cibois. Aitchison became the youngest Celtic player and goal scorer aged 16 when he scored with his first touch on his debut in 2016. It was clear to see why Brendan Rodgers was eager to involve him in the senior team as his perfectly timed run took the entire Paris backline out of the game.

He was quickly involved again minutes later as his quick feet in the box saw him breeze past Stanley Nsoki who stuck out a leg and brought the attacker down for a penalty. There was some debate between Aitchison, Johnston and Hendry but it was the latter to take responsibility over the spot kick which would almost guarantee Celtic the opening day win. However, Cibois got down quickly to his right to deny Hendry his second of the match and as Henderson struck the post on the rebound, there was a sense that this match wasn’t over yet.

Cuclu had taken a hard challenge off of Mark Hill in the second half and as a result was substituted off for Virgiliu Postolachi. Postolachi was only 30 seconds into his UEFA Youth League debut when Cibois punted a long ball over Robbie Deas, who horribly misjudged the bounce, and gifting the Frenchman a chance to drag PSG equal which he gratefully took.

Following the goal Celtic started to crumble, failing to get back into a formidable defensive shape quick enough and this proved costly after Aitchison struck the crossbar following a stramash in the box, as Celtic players asked for a penalty in amongst the carnage, Alec Georgen drove forward 70 yards and sent and inch-perfect cross to Timothy Weah, former AC Milan striker George Weah’s son, who headed home to capitalise on Celtic’s lack of defensive organisation following an attack.

Celtic looked exhausted after 70 minutes while the Parisians ambled around the pitch looking like they’d just done a mild jog, they revolved the players who were suffering physically in order to finish strong, Celtic did make substitutions in the form of Grant Savoury and Lewis Bell to try and add pace to their movement going forward but these were ultimately made too late as the damage had already been done.

Celtic fizzled out despite leading twice as the men in red, white and blue continually went against the run of play to come out with the win. There was a lot of individual talent on show but PSG stuck together as a unit to come out victorious.

  • Full Time:
  • Celtic FC
  • 2-3
  • Paris Saint-Germain

Lineups

Celtic FC
Paris Saint-Germain
1. Ryan Mullen
2. Wallace Duffy
3. Calvin Miller
4. Robbie Deas
5. Stephen Walsh
6. Kerr McInroy
7. Regan Hendry
8. Mark Hill
9. Jack Aitchison
10. Ewan Henderson
11. Michael Johnston
12. Lewis Bell
13. Reece Willison
14. Grant Savoury
15. Broque Watson
16. Thomas Caffery
17. Ciaran Diver
18. Max Potter
1. Sebastien Cibois
2. Alec Georgen
3. Stanley Nsoki
4. Moussa Sissako
5. Loic Mbe Soh
6. Claudio Gomes
7. Lorenzo Callegan
8. Antone Bernede
9. Meterhan Guclu
10. Moussa Diaby
11. Timothy Weah
12. Virgilliu Postolachi
13. Idriss Mzaouiyani
14. Tom Flanant
15. Yacine Adi
16. Thomas Chesneau
17. Arthur Zagre
18. Theo Epally
Star Player
Celtic FC
Paris Saint-Germain
Jack Aitchison - The seventeen-year-old ran the show for Celtic by winning two penalties and scoring a very well taken goal, his 53rd minute finish was beautiful and his run fooled the entire PSG defence, he was constantly positive and drove the team forward with every attack, probably could have scored a few more goals in truth.
Alec Georgen - It was a real captain's display as even when the team seemed to be up against it, the fullback would find a way to get his team back in it, his two assists were perfectly executed and he was rarely beaten defensively.
Magic Moment
Celtic FC
Paris Saint-Germain
Miller, Henderson and Johnston's interplay down the left flank was something to behold in the first half as they consistently tormented the PSG backline and got into goal scoring positions.
When Viriliu Postolachi scored 30 seconds into his UEFA Youth League debut, it was clear to see the delight on the striker's face as he took the awkwardly bouncing ball well and finished with aplomb.
  • Match report and photos copyright Youth Football Scotland.
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