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FK Sarajevo vs Celtic. Europa League Qualifying Play-Offs Round.

Bilino Polje.

FK Sarajevo 0

    Celtic 1

    • O Edouard (70th minute)

    Sarajevo 0-1 Celtic: Odsonne Edouard sends Hoops to Europa League group stage

    Report as Neil Lennon's side seal narrow play-off win to book place in Friday's Europa League group stage - follow draw with our live blog on the Sky Sports website and app

    ZENICA, BOSNIA - OCTOBER 01: Celtic's Odsonne Edouard in action during the UEFA Europa League Qualifier between Sarajevo and Celtic at Bilino Polje Stadium, on October 01, 2020, in Zenica, Bosnia and Herzegovina. (Photo by Nikola Krstic / SNS Group)
    Image: Odsonne Edouard scored the winner for Celtic

    Odsonne Edouard scored a priceless second-half goal as Celtic reached the Europa League group stage with a 1-0 win over Sarajevo.

    The Scottish champions dominated the one-legged play-off tie in Bosnia and Herzegovina without really testing home goalkeeper Vladan Kovacevic in the first half.

    But Edouard, in for the injured Albian Ajeti, pounced from close range in the 69th minute to send Neil Lennon's side deservedly through to Friday's draw.

    The Hoops had to ride an early setback when defender Nir Bitton failed to shrug off the effects of a foul by Aleksandar Pejovic and was replaced by Israel team-mate Hatem Elhamed.

    How Celtic saw off Sarajevo

    Odsonne Edouard is congratulated after scoring what proved a priceless goal for Celtic against Sarajevo
    Image: Edouard is congratulated after scoring what proved a matchwinning goal for Celtic against Sarajevo

    Celtic kept stride and moved the ball around the pitch well for long spells but in the 13th minute, in one of Sarajevo's rare breaks, Parkhead keeper Vasilis Barkas was forced to push an angled drive from Benjamin Tatar around his near post.

    The hosts were well organised defensively but Celtic did create an opportunity five minutes before the break when Edouard set up Mohamed Elyounoussi, only for his shot from 16 yards to be comfortably saved by Kovacevic.

    Seconds from the interval, as Sarajevo countered with pace again, former West Ham winger Matthias Fanimo had a fresh air swipe on the angle from 12 yards.

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    Sarajevo continued to frustrate after the break as Celtic kept pressing. In the 52nd minute Celtic defender Kristoffer Ajer stabbed a Ryan Christie corner past from six yards and then Elyounoussi's drive from 20 yards was saved by Kovacevic

    Celtic's Hatem Abd Elhamed (R) challenges Sarajevo's Tino-Sven Susic during the UEFA Europa League Qualifier
    Image: Celtic's Hatem Abd Elhamed challenges Sarajevo's Tino-Sven Susic during the Europa League play-off

    Celtic, with wing-backs Jeremie Frimpong and Greg Taylor providing width, kept pushing but there always seemed to be a block or tackle from the men in maroon.

    A long-range effort from Christie in the 63rd minute just cleared the bar and Elhamed volleyed wide from a Christie corner. Sarajevo could hardly get out of their own half and eventually the Celtic breakthrough came with Edouard pouncing from eight yards when Kovacevic fumbled a drive from Christie.

    Christie fancied his chances and stung the palms of Kovacevic with another powerful drive but one goal proved enough as a late rally from Sarajevo came to nothing.

    What the manager said…

    GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - AUGUST 26: Celtic Manager Neil Lennon during the Champions League Second Round qualifying match between Celtic and Ferencvaros at Celtic Park on August 26, 2020, in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Craig Williamson / SNS Group)

    Celtic boss Neil Lennon: "My immediate reaction is one of complete delight and pride. I thought that we were excellent. We should have won the game by more, but it was a dominant performance against a strong physical team, and well organised.

    "You know there was definitely a fall out after Ferencvaros where we were bitterly disappointed and it lingers for a while, but hopefully that's gone, and we can look forward to the rest of the season.

    "Since then we've won seven in a row and we have one more game to negotiate at the weekend before we have a break.

    "Whenever we have a defeat the magnitude of the criticism is huge and sometimes overplayed. However, you have to accept that and we have to galvanise ourselves again to pull through a difficult period. And I think we've come out the other side of that."

    "We have so much to look forward to now, whether it be domestically or in Europe."

    When is the Europa League draw?

    Europa League trophy

    The Europa League draw for the 2020/21 season takes place on Friday, with Arsenal, Leicester, Tottenham, Celtic and Rangers set to learn their fate.

    The draw takes place at 12pm on Friday, October 2 at the House of European Football in Nyon, Switzerland.

    You can follow draw with our live blog on the Sky Sports website and app.

    What's next?

    Celtic travel to St. Johnstone in the Scottish Premiership on Sunday at 12pm - live on Sky Sports Football.

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