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Late Udinese penalty stifles Celtic bid

Published: Thursday 29 September 2011, 21.29CET
Celtic FC 1-1 Udinese Calcio
Ki Sung-Yong's penalty had seemingly earned Celtic their first win in Group I but Almen Abdi's late spot kick ensured it finished all square.
Late Udinese penalty stifles Celtic bid
Ki Sung-Yong slots his penalty into the top left-hand corner to give Celtic the lead ©Getty Images
Published: Thursday 29 September 2011, 21.29CET

Late Udinese penalty stifles Celtic bid

Celtic FC 1-1 Udinese Calcio
Ki Sung-Yong's penalty had seemingly earned Celtic their first win in Group I but Almen Abdi's late spot kick ensured it finished all square.

A penalty at either end of the match ensured that Celtic FC and Udinese Calcio shared the spoils in an entertaining 1-1 draw in UEFA Europa League Group I at Celtic Park.

Celtic got off to the perfect start as Ki Sung-Yong converted a third-minute penalty, and the home side looked set to take all three points as time ticked down. With just two minutes remaining, however, Almen Abdi's spot kick salvaged a draw for the Italian contenders.

Neil Lennon's side charged out of the blocks and their early pressure paid dividends almost immediately. After a swift throw-in, Adam Matthews found Gary Hooper inside the penalty area and the striker's sharp turn drew a foul from Joel Ekstrand. Ki fired confidently past Samir Handanovič – who saved six out of eight penalties in Serie A last season – and into the top left-hand corner.

The breathless pace continued and, although the hurried passing made for few clear-cut chances, both goalkeepers were forced into action before half-time. Łukasz Załuska pushed a long-range effort from Emmanuel Agyemang-Badu around the post, and Handanovič kept out Hooper's rasping angled drive from the edge of the area.

Francesco Guidolin's men began to control possession after the introduction of first-team regulars Mauricio Isla, Medhi Benatia and Pablo Armero, but Handanovič still had to be alert to prevent Charlie Mulgrew's curling free-kick from doubling the lead on 53 minutes.

The game opened up late on with Ki forcing an acrobatic save from Handanovič and Isla stinging the palms of Załuska. Celtic rode the storm, until Hooper's late foul on Neuton inside the area gave Abdi the chance to earn his side a point. The midfielder kept his cool to stroke the ball into the bottom left-hand corner, before Handanovič impressed yet again to keep out Mulgrew's added-time free-kick.

Last updated: 01/10/11 0.16CET

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