Rennes 1-1 Celtic: Ryan Christie earns 10-man Hoops battling point
Report as Scottish champions survive late Vakoun Bayo for point in Europa League Group E opener
By PA Media
Last Updated: 19/09/19 10:45pm
Ryan Christie's second-half penalty earned Celtic a 1-1 draw with Rennes in their opening Europa League group game in France after they held on with 10 men in a frantic finale.
The Scottish champions fell behind to a spot-kick from M'Baye Niang in the 37th minute after some rash defending from Kristoffer Ajer.
Celtic had a strong claim of their own rejected before James Forrest was fouled in the box and Christie converted in the 59th minute.
Neil Lennon's side showed plenty of attacking intent and were well worth their point in Brittany but they had to survive a man down after late substitute Vakoun Bayo received two yellow cards in quick succession.
How Celtic rallied at Rennes
An unchanged Celtic side created the first decent opening when Forrest picked out Odsonne Edouard at the back post. The French striker went for a spectacular scissor-kick but shot well over.
The hosts soon forced a chance through Boli Bolingoli's mistake. Raphinha crossed for Clement Grenier but the midfielder headed wide.
Celtic were showing plenty of ambition and, after a sustained period of possession, Mohamed Elyounoussi was inches away from connecting with Bolingoli's low cross after Edouard's dummy.
The hosts went straight up the park and forced a two-on-two counter-attack but Christopher Jullien produced an excellent tackle.
Edouard threatened moments later as he beat two men but was then booked for diving in the box.
Raphinha, an £18.5m summer signing from Sporting Lisbon, cut inside Bolingoli and Callum McGregor before firing a shot that Fraser Forster parried.
But that was a rare moment of danger before Ajer gifted the hosts a penalty. The Norwegian panicked as Niang turned him and headed for the by-line, and brought the striker down with a mixture of his arms and leg. Niang waited for Forster to make his move and picked the opposite side of the net.
Celtic should have had their own penalty after Joris Gnagnon stood on Christie's foot just inside the box after being beaten to Edouard's knockdown. Spanish referee Jose Maria Sanchez and his assistant had a good view but rejected Christie's pleas.
But Neil Lennon's side only had eight minutes to wait. Christie picked up a loose pass and fed Forrest, who made the most of Damien Da Silva's wild swing to go down. Christie kept his composure to find the corner.
Grenier soon came close from a free kick but Celtic were not content with the draw and Forrest was just over with a 25-yard curler.
The visitors lost Bolingoli to a muscle strain but Jonny Hayes came on and defended well, including a strong but fair challenge on the cusp of the box which had the home fans up in arms and Hamari Traore writhing in agony.
Bayo replaced Edouard in the 84th minute and was booked for an aerial challenge which resulted in Da Silva being carried off on a stretcher in the 89th.
The striker was sent off moments later in controversial circumstances after competing for a loose ball when Olivier Ntcham's shot was spilled. He appeared to clip Edouard Mendy's hand and the referee waved play on but the goalkeeper rolled about clutching his face and, after a huge delay, another yellow card was produced.
However, Celtic came closest to a stoppage-time winner when Christie's shot was deflected wide.
What Lennon said
Celtic boss Neil Lennon: "I thought we were the better team," Lennon said. "I thought we were the better team first half and I was disappointed with the players coming in a goal down because we had really good control of the game.
"I thought we lacked a bit of composure first half because we worked the ball in good areas and we just rushed things a bit. I have no complaints about the penalty, but I asked for a reaction at half-time and we certainly got that. We thoroughly merited a point if not the three points.
"It's a great start for us but you always want more. After we scored we sort of came off it a little bit but saw the game out quite comfortably. I'm not happy with the sending off and we should have had another penalty, a clear penalty on Ryan Christie. However, I have got to be satisfied to come away from home and play very strongly against a good side. It speaks volumes for the character and quality of the team."
- Rennes have now lost just one of their last 16 home games in European competition (Including qualifiers - W8 D7), going down 1-2 against Dynamo Kiev in last season's Europa League group stage.
- Celtic have ended a run of three straight Europa League defeats since beating Rosenborg in November 2018. Incidentally, it's their first draw in the competition since sharing the points against Fenerbahce in December 2015.
- With a red card for Vakoun Issouf Bayo, Celtic have received red cards in back-to-back Europa League games for the second time, having done so in 2015 against Ajax and Inter Milan.
- Rennes' M'baye Niang scored his first Europa League goal since February, netting in a 3-1 win against Real Betis. He has scored three goals in his last four games in all competitions for Rennes.
- Celtic's Ryan Christie has scored his ninth goal of the season (four in CL qualifiers and four league goals), netting from Celtic's first shot on target in the match.