Nov 26, 2013 at 7.45pm UK at ​Celtic Park
Celtic
0-3
AC Milan

Commons (57'), van Dijk (63'), Izaguirre (65')
FT(HT: 0-1)
Kaka (12'), Zapata (49'), Balotelli (60')

Match Analysis: Celtic 0-3 AC Milan

Cristian Zapata of AC Milan celebrates after scoring with Antonio Nocerino during the UEFA Champions League Group H match against Celtic on November 26, 2013
© Getty Images
Sports Mole dissects Celtic's crucial Champions League clash with AC Milan

Celtic knew heading into tonight's Champions League clash with AC Milan that only victory would maintain their ambitions of finishing second in Group H.

Milan travelled to Glasgow in dreadful form but broke the deadlock from their first corner kick on 13 minutes, with Kaka heading home from close range.

Cristian Zapata doubled their advantage from a similar situation early in the second half, before Mario Balotelli's composed strike put the result beyond doubt.

Here, Sports Mole looks at what went wrong for Neil Lennon's men on a miserable night at Celtic Park which saw them crash out of Europe altogether.

Match statistics:

Celtic:
Shots: 20
On target: 10
Possession: 52%
Corners: 9
Fouls: 19

Milan:
Shots: 9
On target: 4
Possession: 48%
Corners: 4
Fouls: 12

Was the result fair?

Milan proved to be a clinical, effective counter-attacking team who carried out their gameplan to perfection. Celtic lacked the quality to match their hard-working display and were ultimately well beaten.

Celtic's performance

For large parts of the match Celtic were more than a match for their Milanese counterparts, but all their efforts to press and harry were undone by sloppy defending from set pieces. Giorgios Samaras was also starved of service in the final third, reduced to heading on scraps as the hosts were restricted to threatening from set pieces.

Milan's performance

Massimiliano Allegri will be delighted with what his under-fire side offered up tonight, regularly finding Balotelli with penetrative passes and using Nigel de Jong and Riccardo Montolivo as a midfield forcefield never shirking their responsibilities. A job well done for a side without a win in seven matches before travelling to Glasgow.

Sports Mole's man of the match

Mario Balotelli: Milan's main man has come under fire after a string of poor performances in recent weeks, but was nothing short of sensational tonight. His strong work to hold the ball up gave Milan a platform to build on, while his well-taken third came out of almost nothing after he turned Montolivo's long ball into a sprint on goal. The Rossoneri desperately need their forward talisman to maintain this attitude in Serie A to reverse their poor domestic start.

Biggest gaffe

Celtic's defence will have to take this award collectively for a truly shambolic effort defending a corner kick early on. Valter Birsa's delivery was allowed to find Kaka in the six-yard box without a single Green and White shirt near him, something Lennon will no doubt be seething about as they gave away a cheap early goal.

Referee's performance

Cüneyt Cakir regularly annoyed Lennon by breaking up play due to persistent fouling, not allowing Celtic to build any pressure on the visitors. His performance was on the whole effective though, giving both teams the freedom to express themselves.

What's next?

Celtic: Lennon's men are now reduced to focusing on the fight for domestic domination, hoping to extend their 13-match unbeaten run in Scotland against Hearts in the Scottish Cup on Sunday.

Milan: Allegri's men will hope to use their encouraging European form as a catalyst to climb the Serie A table when they meet Catania on Sunday.

James Forrest of Celtic is congratulated by teammate Virgil van Dijk of Celtic after scoring the opening goal from the penalty spot during the UEFA Champions League Group H match between Celtic and Ajax at Celtic Park Stadium on October 22, 2013
Read Next:
Live Commentary: Celtic 0-3 AC Milan - as it happened
>
You May Like
Recomended from Sports Mole



Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1St Johnstone22006246
2Celtic22005146
3Hibernian22006336
4Aberdeen22004136
5Hamilton AcademicalHamilton21013213
6RangersRangers21014403
7Ross County21013303
8Hearts210124-23
9Kilmarnock200213-20
10Partick Thistle200214-30
11Motherwell200226-40
12Dundee200215-40