BBC Sport football


Related BBC sites

Page last updated at 20:37 GMT, Wednesday, 17 September 2008 21:37 UK

Celtic 0-0 AaB Aalborg

By David McDaid

Barry Robson
Robson wasted his chance from the penalty spot

Barry Robson missed a penalty as Celtic could only manage a goalless draw in their Champions League opener at home to Aalborg.

Despite being pre-match underdogs, it was the Danish champions who had the better of the first period.

Celtic should have taken the lead but Robson slammed his 28th-minute spot kick against the goalkeeper's legs.

And Aalborg had the wrong player sent off near the end, as Celtic pushed in vain for a winner.

The result against the perceived weakest team in the group is a blow to the Scottish champions, who have depended on an excellent home record to progress to the last 16 in the previous two seasons.

Although not filled to capacity, the return of the Champions League atmosphere to Celtic Park appeared to give the home side some extra energy.

However, despite the pacy start, and enjoying the lion's share of possession, the Danes were well-organised and frustrated their hosts.

Celtic's early tactic of high diagonal balls into the box bore no fruit, with the Aalborg central defensive pairing of Michael Beauchamp and Michael Jakobsen mopping up everything with ease.

Georgios Samaras decided to try his luck from the corner of the box, but the rising shot on 11 minutes never tested Karim Zaza in the Aalborg goal.

Celtic Park then breathed a collective sigh of relief on 15 minutes as the Danish champions sparked to life.

Jeppe Curth was allowed to run unmarked through the centre of the home defence, only to slip Thomas Augustinussen's lofted ball past the post with Artur Boruc advancing.

That chance inspired a spell of intense Aalborg pressure, with Augustinussen in particular seeing lots of the ball.


The brown-shirted Danes were retaining the ball efficiently and pushed forward in numbers, forcing a spate of corners.

Just when Aalborg were taking control of the game, Celtic were handed a lifeline on 28 minutes, after Shaun Maloney was felled by Dutchman Steve Olfers in the box.

However, Robson, normally so dependable from 12 yards, drove the spot kick low down the middle, and Zaza saved with his legs.

Despite the penalty failure, Celtic rallied briefly, but they must have been the happier side to hear the half-time whistle as the Danes finished much the stronger side.

In stark contrast to the way they finished the first half, the home side burst out of the blocks for the second period.

Within the first few minutes, Scott Brown, Shunsuke Nakamura and Samaras all made chances, as Celtic stepped up the pace.

Nakamura and Samaras had struggled to make an impact in the first half, but appeared rejuvenated.

The home crowd were expectant when the Japanese had a free-kick around 25 yards out, but Zaza held the tame effort.

Brown had the ball in the net after a neat one-two with Nakamura, but the flag went up for offside, despite video replays suggesting the Scotland internationalist was in line with the last man.

Shunsuke Nakamura
Nakamura was denied late on from a trademark free-kick

Moments later Nakamura fed the ball through to Samaras in the box, but the striker just failed to direct his shot past Zaza.

At the other end, Aalborg worked a training ground set-piece that foxed the Celtic defence, but was headed wide.

With 15 minutes remaining Samaras was presented with a great chance to score.

But rather than strike Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink's pass first-time, the Greek tried to dribble the ball into the net, and the Danes regrouped to snuff out the danger.

Aalborg were reduced to 10 men on 79 minutes after Samaras was tripped when through on goal.

But incredibly, referee Matteo Simone Trefoloni sent off the wrong player, as Beauchamp was red-carded for Jakobsen's infringement.

Zaza saved Nakamura's resultant free-kick brilliantly, and the Danes survived a late onslaught to deprive Celtic of another opening game victory for the sixth time in succession.

Celtic: Boruc, Hinkel, Caldwell, McManus, Naylor, Nakamura, Scott Brown, Robson, Maloney (Vennegoor of Hesselink 72), McDonald (McGeady 63), Samaras.
Subs Not Used: Mark Brown, Hartley, Wilson, Crosas, Loovens.

Booked: McManus, Samaras.

Aalborg: Zaza, Beauchamp, Olfers, Jakobsen, Pedersen, Augustinussen, Curth (Lasse Nielsen 85), Johansson, Risgaard, Enevoldsen, Saganowski.
Subs Not Used: Stenild, Due, Caca, Braemer, Kristensen, Ronnie Schwartz Nielsen.

Booked: Johansson Sent Off: Beauchamp (79).

Att: 57,432

Ref: Matteo Trefoloni (Italy)

see also
Champions League as it happened
17 Sep 08 |  Europe
Champions League photos
17 Sep 08 |  Football

related bbc links:

related internet links:
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Daily Mail Celtic held by Aalborg as blundering referee sends off the wrong player - 1 hr ago
Sky Sports Celtic draw is Danish delight - 9 hrs ago
Sydney Morning HeraldSocceroo a victim of mistaken identity - 10 hrs ago
The Scotsman Celtic squander opportunity against ten-man Danes - 10 hrs ago
Celtic FC Celts held by determined Danes - 10 hrs ago
* Requires registration


Sign in

BBC navigation

Copyright © 2018 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.