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Ajax hit back to hold ten-man Celtic

Ajax 2-2 Celtic
The Dutch hosts twice came from behind to claim an entertaining  draw with a Celtic side forced to play the last 16 minutes with ten men.

Lasse Schöne is mobbed after his equaliser
Lasse Schöne is mobbed after his equaliser ©Getty Images
  • Lasse Schöne rifles in free-kick with six minutes remaining
  • Schöne scores third in as many games against the Scottish champions
  • Emilio Izaguirre sent off for second yellow cards with Celtic 2-1 up
  • Arkadiusz Milik hits the post in the closing stages
  • Next games: Celtic v Fenerbahçe, Molde v Ajax (1 October)

Lasse Schöne struck a late equaliser direct from a free-kick as Celtic, leading 2-1 going into the closing stages, were forced to hold on for a share of the spoils in UEFA Europa League Group A.

The visitors got off to a flying start when Kris Commons cleverly freed Nir Bitton on the edge of the box and the Celtic midfielder rifled a superb low shot past Jasper Cillessen.

Ajax restored parity with their first cohesive attack of the match, though. After some good interplay, Davy Klaassen played a cute back-heel to Viktor Fischer, who fired in.

Cillessen tipped a mis-hit Leigh Griffiths effort around the post but the noisy away support did not have to wait long to rejoice. Commons drilled over a corner and Mikael Lustig rose at the far post to power a header down and into the Ajax net.

Nir Bitton (2nd R) made it 1-0
Nir Bitton (2nd R) made it 1-0©Getty Images

James Forrest had two attempts blocked in quick succession after the break. Lustig then nodded another arrowed Commons corner narrowly wide, and the winger then teed up Griffiths, who hit the side-netting from a tight angle.

The game changed completely when Emilio Izaguirre was dismissed after picking up a second yellow with 16 minutes left. Klaassen headed just past the upright and then substitute Arkadiusz Milik went even closer, his strike rebounding off the same post.

The Celtic defence had to yield, and who else but Schöne, scoring for the third match in a row against the Scottish title holders. In the end Ronny Deila's men hung on – but only just.

©Getty Images

Debut boys
Amin Younes enjoyed a productive first half on the left and it was his run that set up his side's opener. He appears the mobile, skilful type of attacker favoured in Amsterdam. In the Celtic defence, Jozo Šimunović looked composed on the ball and a threat going forward for set plays. He could be a valuable addition to the Hoops' rearguard.

Possession vs efficiency
Frank de Boer's team generally had more of the ball: Ajax like to have possession. Their final ball invariably let them down, though, and far too few outright chances arose. Celtic, on the other hand, were content to sit back and try to release Griffiths on the break and threaten from set pieces. The tactic seemed set to deliver three points – until Izaguirre's sending-off.