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Harsh lesson to young Celts against clinical Barcelona

Celtic FC 1

Aitchison 85

FC Barcelona 4

Queralt 8, 34, Garcia 41, Jang 55
  • Wednesday, 23 November 2016
  • Cappielow Park, Greenock
  • Under 20´s
  • UEFA Youth League

Mark Gillespie | YFS North Ayrshire Senior Reporter
Author's Bio | Articles by Author [email protected]

Tommy McIntyre’s side were looking to bow out of this year’s UEFA Youth League with a positive result, but faced with such formidable opponents, this proved to be a tall order. A frosty Cappielow was no obstacle to a skilled and clinical Barcelona side, no doubt containing future stars to be reckoned with.

A Jordi Mboula Queralt double helped the visitors cruise to a three goal lead at half time. Barcelona looked lethal at every venture into the final third. Celtic enjoyed good spells and possession but by contrast lacked the killer instinct of their opponents.

Celtic had begun positively with Anthony Ralston getting down the flank on 2 minutes to set up Calvin Miller who flashed over the bar, but instead it was Barca who stunned the hosts to take the lead on 8 minutes. It was Queralt’s first sight at goal, and cutting in from wide he proceeded to lash an unstoppable drive from the angle past the helpless Ross Doohan.

With a spring in their step Barca almost doubled their advantage 3 minutes later, when Jeremy Guillemenot found space in the box to head Gyeolhee’s cross against the bar.

Celtic had to regroup and began to look more comfortable in possession, albeit vulnerable to lethal and punishing Barcelona breaks into the final third. Kristoffer Ajer is a formidable presence in the middle and his driving run almost had the Celts level, as he played in Regan Hendry, but he couldn’t find the target with his effort.

Ajer then went on a fine driving run on 31 minutes to the edge of the box, but unfortunately the end product again didn’t match the fine build up play.

Celtic needed to make Barca pay with every sight of goal, as they continued to threaten on the break. There was a double escape firstly as Sam Wardrop made a perfectly timed tackle to thwart the ever dangerous Queralt. A couple of minutes later and Doohan was called into action, tipping a goal bound Guillemenot shot onto the post and wide.

And the visitors doubled their lead on 34 minutes, as Oscar Mingueza sprayed a precise through ball to Queralt in the box. The forward’s instant control teed him up perfectly to turn shoot low past Doohan.

On the balance of play Celtic didn’t deserve to be 2 goals down, as they continued to press and build the play in midfield. Miller had another sight of goal on 41 minutes after a driving run into the box but again couldn’t find the target.

 

Two minutes later and Barca were up the other end to put the match out of sight, as Cletic lost possession in midfield. Dani Garcia played a quick one two into the box to angle a low shot past Doohan.

  • Half Time:
  • Celtic FC
  • 0-3
  • FC Barcelona
The second half had a more pedestrian feel to it with the match’s outcome all but settled, but Celtic emerged from tunnel the more energised as they tried to breathe some life into the game.
 
Barcelona were happy to sit and soak up the pressure, while playing some slick passing triangles in the midfield, but Celtic kept pressing and almost capitalised on a slack pass back by Garcia, as Miller’s shot was cleared off the line on 51 minutes.
 
Danger was obvious in every Barcelona forward venture, and sure enough they added to their lead on 55 minutes, as Jang waltzed through the heart of the defence to place a composed finish past Doohan.
 
A four goal deficit was harsh on Celtic, and they sprang some changes to the bench to try and salvage some pride. Theo Archibald was introduced to the fray to link up with Jack Aitchison up front, with Michael Johnston on for PJ Crossan. There was still plenty of spirit in these Celtic ranks, but without the finishing touch up front to this point.
 
And after some good build up play Celts finally had some reward with five minutes on the clock, as Aitchison met Archibald’s delivery at the far post to head past Josep Martinez.
 
Beaten by skilled, ruthless opponents, this was a harsh lesson to absorb in the fundamentals of the game for the young Hoops. McIntyre's side will have another examination of their streetwise credentials as they visit Manchester City next week for the final group match.
  • Full Time:
  • Celtic FC
  • 1-4
  • FC Barcelona

Lineups

Celtic FC
FC Barcelona
1 Ross Doohan
2 Anthony Ralston
3 Sam Wardrop
4 Jamie McCart (c)
5 Joshua Kerr
6 Mark Hill
7 Regan Hendry
8 Kristoffer Ajer
9 Paul Joseph Crossan
10 Jack Aitchison
11 Calvin Miller
12 Michael Johnston
13 Aidan McAdams
14 Daniel Church
15 Wallace Duffy
16 Theodore Archibald
17 Daniel Higgins
18 Kerr McInroy
25 Josep Riera Martinez
2 Marti Vila Garcia
7 Jordi Mboula Queralt
8 Jordi Tur Antonio (c)
12 Guillem Jaime Serrano
15 Oscar Garcia Mingueza
16 Gyeolhee Jang
18 Daniel Garcia Beltran
21 Juan Movilla Brandariz
22 Alasana Manneh
13 Sergi Puig Herrera
6 Oriol Busquets Mas
14 Ramon Jimenez Rodriguez
17 David Alfonso Romero
19 Abel Ruiz Ortega
20 Alex Callado Gutierrez
23 Eric Montes Arce
Star Player
Celtic FC
FC Barcelona
Kristoffer Ajer was powerful drving midfield presence, crafting several good first half chances.
Jordi Queralt was a constant danger up front, scoring a first half double which could easily have been more.
Magic Moment
Celtic FC
FC Barcelona
Aitchison's consolation was reward for a spirited second half Celts performance.
Queralt's early first half rocket was a thing to behold, and set Barca on the path to victory.
  • Match report and photos copyright Youth Football Scotland.
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