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  • Atletico Madrid 2-0 Glasgow Celtic: Falcao header, Diego superb-finish

    Goals from Falcao and Diego gave Atletico Madrid a comfortable 2-0 victory over a battling Celtic in their Europa League encounter at the Estadio Vicente Calderon, Thursday 15/09/2011.
    The SPL side - reinstated as a result of FC Sion's expulsion from the tournament - were ruthlessly punished for some sloppy defending as Falcao rose imperiously from an unmarked position to power home a firm header from Diego's pinpoint corner kick and put the hosts in front.

    The match meandered along with Celtic forced to work industriously in midfield, before a close-range finish from Diego following fine work from Arda Turan sealed the points for Gregorio Manzano's side.

    Neil Lennon brought Mark Wilson, Glenn Loovens and Georgios Samaras back into his side in place of Adam Matthews, Badr El-Kaddouri and Anthony Stokes as he set his side out to defend deep against the Spanish side, who brought in Turna and Falcao at the expense of Jose Antonio Reyes and Adrian.

    No sooner had Celtic got into stride did they find themselves under the cosh as Samaras gave the ball away lazily to Diego, who very nearly punished the Greek forward with a swift low shot which zipped agonisingly wide.

    But two minutes later, Atletico were in front. Diego whipped over a devilish delivery from a corner kick out on the right, and Falcao rose unchallenged inside the Celtic box to head beyond the helpless Fraser Forster to give his side the lead.

    The visitors slowly began to settle, and one fleeting surge into the Atletico half early on saw Gary Hooper hurtle through on goal, only to stumble over the ball and make a hash of his footwork as the chance went begging.

    Atletico rather surprisingly eased off quite considerably for the remainder of the half, as Manzano's side contented themselves with keeping possession in their own half, while Celtic battled back with tireless harrying in midfield.

    Lennon appeared pleased to get his side in at the break with just the solitary goal separating the two sides, and Celtic emerged for the restart in rejuvenated fashion.

    An early long-range effort from Ki Sung-Yong zipped towards the top corner of the net from all of 30 yards, and Thibaut Courtois was subsequently forced into an athletic save to his left.

    Atletico enjoyed sustained periods of unchallenged possession in their own half as Celtic doggedly kept their shape, but the hosts did very little with the space they were afforded.

    The hosts' lead was eventually doubled in the 69th minute as Turan raced down the left at pace, outstripping two Celtic defenders in forcing his way to the byline, and Diego was on hand to tap home from close range.

    It would have been three in the 77th minute had it not been for Forster, who pulled off a stunning reflex save to thwart the excellent Turan, who swivelled sharply on the edge of the Celtic box and curled an exquisite effort towards the far post.

    The scoreline did not change in a final period of play notable only for a flurry of token substitutions, and Atletico furnished a clinical performance with a clean sheet to make a strong start to their Europa League campaign.

    For Lennon's side, a clash with Udinese at Celtic Park on September 29 now takes on additional significance.
    Dan Quarrell - follow on Twitter @danquarrell / Eurosport


    Atletico Madrid: Courtois, Perea, Godin, Miranda, Antonio Lopez, Turan, Mario Suarez, Gabi, Koke, Diego Costa, Falcao. Subs: Sergio Asenjo, Tiago, Adrian, Salvio, Reyes, Pizzi, Dominguez
    Glasgow Celtic: Forster, Mark Wilson, Kelvin Wilson, Loovens, Mulgrew, Kayal, Ki, Ledley, Hooper, Forrest, Samaras. Subs: Zaluska, Matthews, Bangura, Commons, George, Filip Twardzik, Wanyama


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