Live Commentary: Qarabag FK 0-0 (0-1) Celtic - as it happened

Live Commentary: Qarabag FK 0-0 (0-1) Celtic - as it happened
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Relive Sports Mole's live commentary as Celtic earn a hard-fought 0-0 draw away to Qarabag as the Champions League playoffs await.

Celtic held Qarabag FK to a goalless draw in Baku to complete a 1-0 aggregate win and qualify for the Champions League playoffs.

Dedryck Boyata's 82nd-minute winner in Glasgow last week proved decisive as both sides cancelled each other out in Azerbaijan tonight.

Below, relive the action with our live commentary.


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4.33pmGood evening. How are you then? Swell. That's enough small talk. I'm Shane and I'll be taking you through all of the action from Baku as Celtic look to book their spot in the Champions League playoffs by negotiating a very tricky tie with Azerbaijan champions Qarabag FK. Can they do it? Well they bring a 1-0 lead with them, but the hosts did more than enough in Glasgow last week to suggest that this tie is far from over.

4.36pmIt was Dedryck Boyata's 82nd-minute header that has tipped the tie in Celtic's favour. In truth, they weren't very convincing. They were about as convincing as a cheating boyfriend's defence on Jeremy Kyle upon failing a lie detector. They were about as convincing as a remake of The Godfather with Phil Mitchell portraying Don Corleone. It just wasn't very good okay.

4.39pmPlus, being eliminated from the Champions League despite a one-goal lead would be a very Celtic thing to do, wouldn't it? Indeed, they don't have the best record in this competition since Deila took charge. Let's look at why before we get into the team news.

4.43pmLast season, Deila's troops were knocked out at this stage with a 6-1 aggregate defeat to Legia Warsaw. However, the second part of that tie - a 2-0 Legia win - was expunged from the records and Celtic were given a 3-0 away victory after the Poles were adjudged to have fielded an ineligible player. They advanced on the away-goal rule after the tie officially finished 3-3. But then they only went and lost 2-1 to Maribor in the playoff tie.

4.46pmThe club itself has quite a decent Champions League record, and it'll be a long, long time before that 1-0 win over Barcelona a couple of years back is to be forgotten. Rod Stewart has been crying for all the wrong reasons as of late though.

4.49pmAnywho, let's get into the team news, shall we? Celtic's has been available for a while but the hosts have dithered a little when releasing theirs on Twitter. Mind games? Perhaps, but realistically it's because their Social Media manager is a) in the toilet or b) does not exist. Stay tuned.

4.52pmCELTIC XI: Gordon; Lustig, Boyata, van Dijk, Izaguirre; Brown, Bitton; Mackay-Steven, Johansen, Armstrong; Ciftci

4.53pmQARABAG XI: Sehic; Garayev, Sadygov, Agolli, Huseynov; Reynald, Quintana, Gurbanov, Almedia, El Jadeyaoui, Poepon

4.55pmCELTIC SUBS: Ambrose, Griffiths, Commons, Rogic, Janko, Bailly, Forrest

4.56pmQARABAG SUBS: Veliyev, Mustafayev, Ismayilov, Diniyev, Taghiyev, Elvin Mammadov, Yunuszada

5.00pmShall we start with the visitors? Why not. Deila makes FOUR changes from the 2-0 win over Ross County on Saturday. Firstly, Mikael Lustig and Emilio Izaguirre return to defence, with Virgil van Dijk and Boyata in between them at centre-half. Then, Nir Bitton comes into midfield, with Nadir Cifti also preferred to Leigh Griffiths as the spearhead of Celtic's attack.

5.03pmOn to the hosts now and just the one change for them from last week's defeat in Glasgow, with Rydell Poepon coming in for Javid Taghiyev, who drops to the bench. Coach Gurban Gurbanov obviously appreciates what he saw from his troops at Parkhead - and why not! They weren't bad by any stretch of the imagination.

5.07pmI can confirm that it's quite warm in Baku this evening. In fact, it's only 30 degrees! It's hotter than Michelle Keegan and Mila Kunis playing heads and volleys in the Sahara. It's hotter than Kevin Keegan during quite a famous Sky Sports interview. It's so hot that some areas of the field have been singed. It's so hot that it looks like the Tofiq Bahramov Stadium played host to a ruddy bonfire last night. It's hot. You get the point.

5.11pmWill the pitch negatively affect Celtic tonight? Not according to Deila, who claims that his troops have experience when it comes to playing on dodgy surfaces. Here's what he told Sky Sports News yesterday: "It is not a perfect pitch, of course. But it is a pitch and we are used to playing in those types of pitches in Scotland in the winter so we have to make the best of the situation."

5.15pmPREDICTION! Shall we? Why not. We're punting for a 1-1 draw on the night in a result that would see the Bhoys progress 2-1 on aggregate. They were a little fortunate in Glasgow last week, but surely that manner of that narrow win would only serve to remind Deila's men of the risks involved in writing off Qarabag. They should pull a professional display out of the bag here and advance into the playoffs.

5.19pmWe should note that the Scots could meet with a relatively ominous end in this Champions League qualification campaign. Why? Because there's some big teams poised to enter the fold in the next round. Manchester United. Monaco. Lazio.

5.23pm

5.26pmFour minutes until showtime folks!

1 minKICKOFF: Aaaaaaaaaaaaaand we're off in Azerbaijan. Big game here folks. It would be very, very interesting should Qarabag score the first goal. Let's go.

3 minThree minutes in and the most interesting thing I've seen so far is Deila's tattoo! Is he the only manager in European football with a tattoo?

5 minThe home fans are in fine voice here early on. I don't speak Azerbaijani, but if I had to guess I'd say they're chanting 'Qarabag' over and over again. They might need a songwriter.

7 minInterestingly, the stewards are already standing in front of the terraces. There's a line of them around the perimeter of the field. That should tell you all you need to know about the fans. Mental....in a good way; a passionate way.

9 minCeltic are definitely up against 10 men here. They need to silence this mob with an away goal, but easier said than done because it's all Qarabag at the minute. It's very cagey.

10 minGood defending from Van Dijk here, as he shepherds Reynaldo's through ball out of play under pressure from new boy Rydell Poepon.

11 minCeltic hearts are in mouths here as the referee blows his whistle for a foul in the Celtic box, but fortunately for them it's in favour of the visitors following a handball from Reynaldo. This is such a big ask for Deila's men. Forget playing against 12 men; the crowd are so partisan that it's 13 vs. 11 here.

14 minOne avenue that could prove successful for Celtic tonight is the right-hand side of attack, because Gary Mackay-Steven looks lively early on. He's been flagged offside three times already, which for a winger, should tell you something, eh?

17 minCeltic have settled a little, and the crowd has quietened down just a little. It's still 0-0 on the night but there's goals in this.

21 minBetter from Celtic, as full-back Izaguirre whips a fantastic left-footed cross into the box, but Nadir Ciftci didn't bother moving for it and the chance broke down. Leigh Griffiths might've started this. I saw Ciftci against Stjarnan in the last round and he looked relatively average it has to be said.

24 minReynaldo whips in a fantastic cross now and Craig Gordon flapped at it a little but nobody was on hand to capitalise on his slight error. Qarabag are scoring tonight; no doubt about it. The only question is: will it matter?

27 minSHOT! This might be the first shot, and it's from Reynaldo and, appropriately, it's nothing like what any of his near-namesakes would have done because he's just gone for goal from about 30 yards and probably fired it out of the stadium. Is was that high.

29 minSAVE! Massive save by Craig Gordon as Richard Almeida carries it toward goal but his effort from outside the box is tipped away by the Scottish stopper. Qarabag slowly but surely growing stronger.

32 minWATER BREAK! We said it was hotter than Michelle Keegan and Mila Kunis playing heads and volleys in the Sahara, and the fact we've got a drinks break reflects that. It's only 30 degrees. No big deal. They'll need these every five minutes to combat the heat in Qatar in 2022.

34 minThere were questions over the grass before kickoff, after the heat scorched parts of the pitch, but it looks alright. Okay Arsene Wenger might have a heart attack if Arsenal played on it, but it's alright so far.

37 minAlmeida looks a very decent player. He forced Gordon into that save earlier on and overall he is far and away Qarabag's best player. After all, he is Brazilian.

40 minVan Dijk has Rydell Poepon on toast in this first half. He hasn't given him a sniff and that's part of the reason why it's still 0-0 because this Poepon is meant to be tasty in front of goal.

41 minIbrahim Sehic looks a little dodgy in the Qarabag goal as he fumbles a routine catch, but the ball goes out for a corner - which came to nothing - before Van Dijk could capitalise.

45 minTWO MINUTES ADDED ON:

6.16pmHALF TIME: Qarabag FK 0-0 Celtic

6.19pmThat's all she wrote in the first half. It's very cagey, but Qarabag have been undoubtedly the better team. Yet, it's still 0-0 as Celtic's 1-0 first-leg lead is, as it stands, enough to take them into the playoffs. It's a massive 45 minutes ahead for them. Elimination would put a major downer on their season - and it's only about a week old really.

46 minRESTART! Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand we're back underway in Baku - the city of fire. The first goal in this one is huge, my friends. Celtic still lead 1-0 on aggregate but the hosts did enough in that first half to suggest that they can score at least once tonight. Stay tuned.

48 minSHOT! Good start to this half by the hosts but this is one effort that Hüseynov will want to forget, as the defender's half-volley flies over the crossbar.

52 minReferee is bottling it here a little. Celtic have been fouled plenty of times in this second half but they're yet to win a free kick. It's an intimidating atmosphere but, you know, the ref has a job to do and he's not doing it.

54 minSHOT! I can't tell you how many times a Qarabag player had fired well over the bar tonight. Imagine a goal-frame suspended on a crane some 30 feet above the surface - it's as if the hosts have been training by scoring goals into that. Rashad Sadiqov is the latest culprit. It's bizarre.

58 minQarabag really toiling in the final third now. Celtic have defended really well, with Van Dijk and Boyata particularly impressive, and the hosts have no answer for them as of yet. You can tell the crowd are growing more pessimistic with each minute that passes.

60 minHalf-n-hour left then and Celtic, as it stands, going through to the playoffs thanks to their 1-0 first-leg win. A lot of football to be played, however.

62 minCLOSE! This is as close as Celtic have come all night. I think it was actually their first shot? Anywho, Stuart Armstrong looks to bend it Ibrahim Sehic from a fairly tricky angle and the ball flies narrowly over the bar.

64 minBOOKING: First yellow of the night then as Stefan Johansson is penalised for a cynical foul on Poepon. No complaints from him.

66 minI must say: Nadir Ciftci has been really disappointing tonight. He's done nothing. Absolutely nothing. I wonder if we'll see Leigh Griffiths shortly. He's a far better option in a game like this.

68 minJust a reminder that Qarabag would need to score THREE times if Celtic were to open the scoring. That looks very unlikely at this juncture.

68 minSUB: Ah, speak of the devil. Ciftci makes way for Griffiths. It's a good call by Deila. The Scottish striker could have a huge say in this tie over the next 22 minutes or so.

71 min20 minutes to play and Celtic, as it stands, are heading into the playoff stages. What a big 20 minutes this is in Celtic's season. Elimination would be a major disappointment in a season where Champions League is needed to spicen things up a little for them.

75 minWATER BREAK! Another vital water breaks to combat the heat in Baku. 15 minutes to go, and dare I suggest that Celtic look comfortable. Qarabag don't look as dangerous as they did in the first half.

78 minWe're back underway following the brief break and Celtic still looking comfortable. Simple as that! They're killing this game brilliantly. The fans, who were extraordinarily noisy in the first half, have simmered down.

82 minWe might've spoken too soon. Qarabag look dangerous now and here's a corner...

83 minSHOT! The corner comes to nothing but Izaguirre's header eventually falls to Huseynov, who curls well wide of the post. Seven minutes of normal time!

84 minCHANCE! It's taken 84 minutes but we've finally see a clear-cut a chance, as Johansen goes through on goal for Celtic but he opts for power instead of precision and drills wide of the post. Could that come back to haunt them? Time will tell.

87 minThree minutes until Celtic book their place in the playoffs. Three minutes. That's it. Can they hang on? So far so good. They're seeing most of the ball. Qarabag look a beaten side.

89 minBOOKING: Izaguirre goes into the book for kicking the ball away. Fair enough I think. We'll tell you how many added minutes there are very soon.

90 minFIVE minutes added on! Where did that come from? Lord knows. Still plenty of time for Qarabag to bring us into extra-time.

90 + 3 minIt's very nervy now as Celtic hang on to their 1-0 aggregate lead. Still, they look quite comfortable, despite one or two moments of panic in the last few minutes. Two minutes left.

7.21pmFULL TIME: Qarabag FK 0-0 Celtic (Celtic win 1-0 on aggregate)

7.24pmAnd that's all she wrote here in Baku, my friends. Celtic hold on to earn a brilliant 0-0 draw as they progress 1-0 on aggregate, thanks to Dedryck Boyata's header in Glasgow last week. They're in the playoffs! Huge victory. Well done to them. Anywho, that's all from us this evening folks. Thanks for joining us and we'll see you next time.

Nadir Ciftci of Celtic and Bedavi Huseynov of FK Qarabag in action during the UEFA Champions League Third Qualifying Round 1st Leg match between Celtic and FK Qarabag at Celtic Park on July 29, 2015
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