Italian giants AC Milan traveled to Scotland and Celtic park tonight, Milan with a win and a Ajax defeat knew that would be enough to see them out of the group stages, where as the Scottish champions knew nothing but a win would be good enough.

  • By Mark Neale
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balotMilan’s last victory in Scotland was in 1969, followed by two draws and two defeats,Celtic are very strong at home, losing just twice in the Champions League group phase along with five draws and 16 wins.Philippe Mexes is out with an eye infection, joining Sulley Muntari, Marco Amelia, Cristian Zaccardo, Mattia De Sciglio, Giampaolo Pazzini and Stephan El Shaarawy on the injured list. Whilst Celtic are still without the suspended Scott Brown and Nir Baton, while Adam Matthews and Steven Mouyokolo are also injured.

As always the game kicked off in an atmospheric Celtic park and just 2 minutes in a surging run from Ambrose resulted in a blocked cross from Samaras resulted in a corner which Boerrigter miscued wide. Milan’s first chance came seconds later when Balotelli shout wide after beating Ambrose just outside the box.

Celtic had lots of early pressure with no real effect, the scots almost took the lead when a miscued shot from Mulgrew fell to Kayal but he shot wide under a challenge from Zapata.

Milan grew into the game and after a 2nd corner in quick succession Birsa found Kaka unmarked 5 yards out to head Milan into the lead.

A shell shocked Celtic gradually grew back into the game but numerous crosses never really threatened the Milan goal. In the 25th minute a good Forrest cross finally found a Celtic player in Boerrigter whose shot was blocked that lead to a quick counter attack which ended up with a Balotelli shot over the Celtic goal.

After 26 minutes the possession was 50/50 with Celtic having completed 62 passes compered to Milan’s 94.

Milan having the lead sat deep waiting to counter, Celtic were forced into a change when Kayal came off injured to be replaced by Ledley,Celtic pressing more and Mulgrew nearly took advantage of hesitant play at the back for Milan but shot was saved.

Balotelli had the ball in the net in the 40th minute but was ruled offside even tho replays suggested he was level. Milan having a good spell of possession but in theme with the evening the final ball was a missing. Samaras had the last chance of the half when in added time his header from 10 yards was saved comfortably by Abbiati in the milan goal.

Half time Celtic 0-1 Milan.

The second half got underway and an action packed  few minutes ensued, a foul by Emanuelson on Lustig just outside the box resulted in Mulgrew’s freekick being blocked but his return ball found Van Dijk 3 yeards out but his shot was hit straight at Abbiati, Abate was replaced by Nocerino for the Italians, he had an istant impact when Birsa’s corner found Nocerino who placed the ball into Celtic’s 6 yard box where it found Zapata 2 yards out to make it 2-0.

Celtic thought they had pulled a goal back but Van Dijk’s header was flagged offside from a Ledley cross.

The 1st yellow card arrived in the 57th minute when Commons was booked after kicking the ball away when penalized for a foul on De Jong.

Milan secured the game when in the 60th minute a great pass by Poli picked out Balotelli who held off Ambrose to slide the ball past Forster to make it 3-0.

Again Celtic searched for a goal but after a superb pass by Lustig, Forrest toe poked his effort wide. Yellow cards followed for Celtic as frustration grew when Van Dijk then Izaguirre both got booked for fouls on Balotelli, arguably the latter may have been a red.Celtic made a change when Stokes replaced Commons in the 65th minute.

Constant came on Birsa for Milan in the 72nd minute.

A fine Izaguirre cross headed down by Samaras found Ledley in the 6 yard box but his shot was blocked as Milan held onto their clean sheet, Celtic made their final change when Forrest made way for Champions league debutante Rogic. Milan also made their final change when man of the match Kaka was replaced by Robinho.

Milan kept possession well to see out the final 10 minutes to secure a much needed win. The victory sets up a showdown with Ajax which will decide who joins Barcelona in the knockout rounds.

Final score Celtic 0-3 Milan

Celtic 4-4-1-1: Forster, Lustig, Ambrose, Van Dijk, Izaguirre; Boerrigter, Kayal(Ledley 30), Mulgrew, Forrest(Rogic 80); Commons(Stokes 65); Samaras

Celtic bench: Zaluska, Fisher, Ledley, Rogic, Stokes, Balde, Pukki

Milan 4-3-2-1: Abbiati; Abate(Nocerino 48), Zapata, Bonera, Emanuelson; Montolivo, De Jong, Poli; Birsa(Constant 71), Kaka(Robinho 80); Balotelli

Milan bench: Coppola, Silvestre, Constant, Nocerino, Cristante, Robinho, Matri

Mark Neale (32 Posts)