Celtic progress after goalless draw with Elfsborg

Posted on by SoccerPunter

It was a boring goalless draw at Champions League third qualifiying round, but Celtic couldn’t be happier after they edge closer to group qualification by holding off Elfsborg.

Celtic is in good form after beating Ross County at the opening match of Scotland Premiership. The Scottish Champions have started brightly with an unbeatable record in Champions League.

Whereas things aren’t going well for the Sweden Allsvenskan defending Champions, Elfsborg. They have not won in last four matches and currently ranked 6th position in Allsvenskan.

Mo Bangura, on loan from Celtic, came close to scoring against his parent club with an acrobatic effort from the edge of the box before both Georgios Samaras and Joe Ledley spurned glorious chances to put the visitors in front

The Hoops didn’t have it all their own way against the Swedish champions, who went on the front foot in the second period, but James Keene had a penalty claim turned down as Elfsborg couldn’t find the goal that would have forced extra time.

Celtic are seeded for the play-off round, so they should fancy their chances of returning to the group stage regardless of who they are paired with when the draw is made on Friday.

At the Boras Arena, Elfsborg – unbeaten at home since September 2011 – named striker Bangura in their starting line-up after he passed a late fitness test, and the Sierra Leone international almost scored a stunning opener for the Swedish champions when he controlled a lofted pass on his chest before sending an acrobatic bicycle kick just wide of Fraser Forster’s left-hand post

Celtic tried to respond and Samaras should have done better when Mikael Lustig picked him out with a cross but he powered a free header over the bar from 12 yards.

The Hoops were presented with a fantastic opportunity in the 20th minute when Kris Commons’ drilled free-kick broke to Ledley 10 yards out but the Welshman was denied by a fine save from ‘keeper Kevin Stuhr-Ellegaard.

Bangura then spurned a chance to score against his parent club when he headed a Stefan Ishizaki cross over the bar from eight yards after losing his marker Efe Ambrose.

Celtic fans had their hearts in their mouths in the 56th minute after a long throw caused consternation in the six-yard box with the ball pinging around dangerously close to the line before an offside decision saved the Hoops.

And the visitors survived another scare when Elfsborgs’ English striker Keene went down in the box after a robust challenge from Kelvin Wilson, but the referee ignored the penalty pleas.

Forster then got down to stop a low Johan Larsson drive and Henning Hauger blazed over after being set up by Bangura but Elfsborg, who finished with four forwards, couldn’t break the deadlock.

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