Fenerbahce 1-1 Celtic: Turkish side progress to Europa League knockout stage
By Charlie McFaulds
Last Updated: 10/12/15 10:19pm
Celtic earned a 1-1 draw with Fenerbahce to salvage some pride from a frustrating Europa League campaign at Sukru Saracoglu.
Kris Commons (75) came off the bench to level a first half goal from Lazar Markovic, with his first touch six minutes after the Turkish side had Ribas Diego dismissed for kicking Stefan Johansen.
Dedryck Boyata started the move when he burst forward and laid the ball wide to the overlapping Mikael Lustig and Commons timed his run to perfection to meet the delivery and send his diving-header into the 'keeper's top right corner from eight yards.
Fenerbahce almost scored just four minutes into the game when Craig Gordon got his fingertips to a Mehmet Topal drive from the edge of the box and touched the ball on to the post after the defender exchanged passes to open up the Celtic defence.
The visitors squandered a great opportunity on 25 minutes though when Nir Bitton's measured pass sent Nadir Ciftci in behind the Fenerbahce defence, but the striker hesitated and allowed Abdoulaye Ba to take the ball off his toe just inside the penalty area.
Three minutes later Gordon could only parry Diego's dipping shot from 25 yards but the Celtic goalkeeper got up quickly to turn Souza's follow up wide for a corner.
Yet again from a position of relative comfort Celtic conceded the kind of goal which has summed up their European campaign this season six minutes before the break when they lost possession deep inside the Fenerbahce half and Ba's lofted pass seemed like an easy take for Gordon on the left side of his box, but the 'keeper misjudged the bounce and Markovic ran on to slot the ball in from a tight angle despite the best attempts of three defenders to get back and clear.
The Bhoys came close to squaring the match just before the interval when Callum McGregor won a header just outside the box and Lustig hit a shot on the turn which had Fabiano Freitas scrambling to his right to push the ball behind for a corner.
Celtic were almost caught on with another long ball from an attacking position in the early stages of the second half but last-man Jozo Simunovic held his ground to block Fernandao's progress just inside the box.
Scott Allan had looked composed on his European debut and he threaded a neat pass into the Fenerbahce penalty area five minutes later but the advancing Fabiano got to the ball before Ciftci.
Diego, who had been involved in an early tangle with Johansen, which led to the latter receiving a yellow card, was dismissed on 67 minutes for kicking the Celtic midfielder off the ball.
Celtic were clearly lifted by the goal from Commons, who had come on with Tom Rogic on 74 minutes, but an earlier substitute, James Forrest was causing the Fenerbahce defence real problems with his pace.
The winger skipped between two defenders before firing over from 20 yards, and then set up McGregor following another burst of pace which ended with the latter shooting narrowly wide of the upright.
He also set up Commons with a square pass in stoppage-time following more trickery, but Ba took the pace out of the goalscorer's shot and Fabiano was alert to the danger before Ciftci could pounce.
Celtic were certainly worthy of their point, which was also enough to see Fenerbahce join Group A winners Molde in the knockout stages ahead of Ajax, but on reflection manager Ronny Deila has much to address before the European qualifying ties in the summer.