A YOUNG Celtic side were beaten on penalties by Galatasaray yesterday as the Turkish champions claimed the Turkish Airlines Antalya Cup.
Galatasaray won 5-4 on penalties
Neil Lennon’s team held the hosts to a goalless draw before the game went to penalties. However, they were edged out 5-4 by a team who have reached the knockout stages of the Champions League.
It was a creditable performance by the Scottish Champions, who included a number of development squad players, as they more than matched their opponents for spells of a game played in an intimidating atmosphere created by a typically passionate Turkish support Celtic started brightly and Teemu Pukki had the ball in the net after five minutes, only to be ruled offside.
Celtic goalkeeper Lukasz Zaluska made a fine save from Noureddin Amrabat’s fierce shot and former Arsenal man Emmanuel Eboue blazed a shot over the bar, but the Scots gave as good as they got. Derk Boerrigter curled a free kick just too high, before the Dutchman sent in a tempting cross with which Pukki only just failed to connect.
Moments later, the striker had a shot well saved by Eray Iscan, before Boerrigter was inches away from connecting with Liam Henderson’s excellent ball to the far post.
Just before half-time, James Forrest beat five players in a dazzling run before firing a shot which Iscan saved comfortably.
Galatasaray substitued their entire team at half-time, their second-half line-up featuring Dutch international Wesley Sneijder, who quickly established himself as his side’s chief creator, and he set up several promising attacking moves for his team’s pacy forwards.
Within moments of the restart, Umut Bulut had a decent attempt blocked by Zaluska and team-mate Burak Yilmaz was unable to score from the rebound.
At the other end, Celtic were still threatening and Biton was not far away when he attempted a cheeky, lofted shot from the halfway line that just cleared the crossbar and landed on the top of the net.
It was entertaining, end-to-end stuff, and Galatasaray were back on the attack when Emre Colak and Selcuk Inan unsuccessfully tried their luck before they were forced to defend again as Celtic’s Henderson tried a long-range shot which was saved.
The Turkish side upped the pace of the action as Bulut set up Sneijder for a shot at goal, but his attempt was off target. Next, Zaluska was alert as he held on to a chipped effort by Inan. In keeping with the tempo of the game, this
was no timid affair and, as both teams were frusutrated in their attempts to win the match in regulation time, tempers began to become frayed among some Galatasaray players and Emre Colak appeared to throw a punch at Boerrigter.
However, Celtic were not put off and Forrest sent Balde clear. However, the striker’s shot was too high.
Calvin Miller, who celebrated his 16th birthday only four days ago, was brought on to make his debut, and Celtic played out the final moments with eight players from their youth academy.
The final action of the 90 minutes was a Hakan Balta shot which was deflected wide, and as the match went to a penalty shoot-out.
Henderson, Biton, Bahrudin Atajic and Balde scored from the spot but Forrest’s attempt was saved, giving victory to Galatasaray.