Celtic’s bid to reach the last sixteen of the Europa League has been been thrown into doubt as they have fallen behind against Zenit.
Leading 1-0 from Callum McGregor’s late goal in last week’s first leg at Parkhead, Brendan Rodgers’ side found their advantage eroded with less than ten minutes on the clock. Veteran defender Branislav Ivanovic, who won the competition with Chelsea in 2013, powered the home side into the lead on the night with a bullet header – the perfect way to celebrate his 34th birthday.
One became two just before the half-hour mark, Daler Kuzyayev’s swerving shot from outside the box finding its way into the net. Although the strike was a good one, serous questions have to be asked of Dorus de Vries’ inability to keep it out. The 37-year-old was selected in place of the injured Craig Gordon, and how Brendan Rodgers must wish that he was able to call upon his number one in Saint Petersburg.
The Bhoys have looked vaguely threatening in attack, even without the likes of Leigh Griffiths and Patrick Roberts and with Scott Sinclair on the bench, and at the time of writing they are still within one goal of progressing, but Zenit look sharp enough to catch them on the counter attack and give the Scottish side a mountain to climb.
At half time, it remains 2-0 to Zenit on the night, 2-1 on aggregate.
In this week’s episode of the Mixer Irish football podcast, we look back at last week’s season-opening Dublin derby and debate Graham Cummins’ controversial red card as we review and preview all of the latest League of Ireland action.