International

Guarin ends Celtic's dream

2015-02-27 11:26
Freddy Guarin (Supplied)

Milan - Fredy Guarin struck a late winner for Inter Milan as Roberto Mancini's men qualified for the last 16 of the Europa League with a 4-3 aggregate victory over 10-man Celtic on Thursday.

Celtic travelled to Italy hoping to build on the solid performance that earned them a 3-3 draw at Parkhead last week.

However Ronny Deila's men were reduced to 10 men in the first half when Virgil Van Dijk saw red for a second bookable offence, leaving the visitors chasing the ball for much of the remainder before Guarin beat Hoops goalkeeper Craig Gordon two minutes from time with a long-range screamer.

Celtic's supporters travelled in their thousands and were given hope in the opening minutes when the ball landed at the feet of midfielder Gary Mackay-Steven but Inter keeper Juan Pablo Carrizo did well to block.

Celtic had put in a battling performance in Glasgow last week, where on-loan Manchester City striker John Guidetti hit a last-gasp equaliser, and had planned for more of the same against the Nerazzurri.

But those hopes were dented just after the half hour when Van Dijk, who was cautioned in the 26th minute for a strong challenge on Rodrigo Palacio, saw red following a tackle on striker Mauro Icardi.

Celtic tried to plug the gap, with Efe Ambrose coming on to replace Mackay-Steven, but Inter almost immediately capitalised on their numerical advantage.

Gordon was forced to pull off a great save from Icardi's free kick and defender Andrea Ranocchia went close with a header from a corner before the half-time interval.

Inter piled on the pressure after the restart with Hernanes's shot inside the box forcing Gordon to save before the keeper blocked Icardi's close-range effort.

Deila replaced Guidetti with James Forrest just before the hour but the fresh legs did little to stem the Inter tide.

Icardi and Palacio combined to set up and Xherdan Shaqiri but the Swiss international's header went wide.

Colombian international Guarin's long-range drive went over Gordon's crossbar minutes later and the keeper was cautioned for taking too long to take the goal kick.

Celtic's chances were few and far between, although Kris Commons, a late replacement for Stuart Armstrong, tested Carrizo with a long-range drive after taking possession just inside Inter's half.

With three away goals, Inter already had some assurance of making it to the last 16, although Guarin put the result beyond any doubt with a brilliant strike from distance in the 88th minute that left Gordon with no chance.

Read more on:    celtic  |  inter milan  |  europa league  |  soccer
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