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Celtic hold on to progress

Published: Wednesday 3 March 2004, 22.05CET
FK Teplice 1-0 Celtic FC (agg: 1-3) Jirí Mašek gives the home side victory, but last year's finalists go through.
Published: Wednesday 3 March 2004, 22.05CET

Celtic hold on to progress

FK Teplice 1-0 Celtic FC (agg: 1-3) Jirí Mašek gives the home side victory, but last year's finalists go through.

Celtic FC's bid for a second consecutive UEFA Cup final appearance continued despite defeat in the Czech Republic as their comfortable first-leg lead saw them through 3-1 on aggregate.

Little reward
FK Teplice started the game brightly and looked comfortable in possession, but Celtic's defence were ensuring the home side were getting little reward for their neat approach play, with Bobo Balde and Stanislav Varga dominant in defence for the visitors.

Scurrying save
Indeed it was Celtic who went closest to scoring when Alan Thompson opted for placement rather than power from a free-kick, only for Tomáš Pogtulka to scurry across his line and make the save. Soon after Henrik Larsson burst down the right but his cross aimed at Chris Sutton was gathered well by Pogtulka.

Lashed finish
From then on Teplice were in charge of the first half, and a stroke of luck led to the goal. In trying to clear the ball Varga headed straight to Jirí Mašek on the edge of the area, and he took one touch before shooting the ball past Rab Douglas into the top corner.

Determined mood
Unsurprisingly, Teplice came out after the interval in determined mood to cut the overall deficit further. They had their chances too, Karel Rada's header flew just over the bar before Tomáš Hunal was put off his effort by John Kennedy's presence.

Acrobatic volley
Celtic's best move of the game came with 20 minutes left, as Larsson played a lovely one-two with Didier Agathe before volleying the ball acrobatically at Pogtulka. Late on Larsson went close again, seeing his close-range shot saved by the goalkeeper after Agathe's testing right-wing cross.

Last chance
At the death, substitute Stephen Pearson chested down a high ball and looked set to seal the tie, before Rada intercepted brilliantly to avert the danger. By that point, Celtic were comfortable in their overall lead, but although they bowed out, Teplice can look back at a terrific run that has taken in victories against 1. FC Kaiserslautern and Feyenoord.

Fought hard
Teplice coach Frantisek Straka was delighted with his side's determined display: "Our team fought for every ball and they knew that today was our big chance," he said. "It could have been even more than 1-0 but we are happy."

Tough conditions
Celtic counterpart Martin O'Neill admitted the Scottish side had struggled to get going in difficult conditions. He said: "We tried to find our feet on the wet pitch but it was hard, and because we didn't manage to score the game was always open."

Last updated: 04/03/04 11.28CET