Movie Stars and Gossip
We were rubbish. We didn’t deserve to win. We lost. Only highlight of the game was their goal – what a lovely bit of football! The only bit in the whole game. Forster was my man of the match; the score would have been embarrassing if it wasn’t for him. If you’re short on time, stop reading now – there’s nothing but misery, frustration and disappointment ahead.
For the brave souls who want more detail – here is my post-mortem, which will be short and unsweet…
Going by multiple news reports, there was trouble last night with Celtic fans being attacked at a bar in Amsterdam – not a good sign of a warm welcome – with Celtic fans retaliating and attacking plain clothed police men in the city center before the match, leaving one unconscious, eight injured, with 15 arrests, according to the Amsterdam police statement.
The game started off at a fast and furious pace as both teams struggled to settle in to a healthy rhythm and there were no clear chances from either side. Then Commons gave away a stupid foul about 7 minutes in; great save, first of many by Forster. They applied more pressure, had more chances, had more possession, all contained with ease – they never appeared that threatening. Throughout the game, we had many corners/free kicks – all of which went nowhere. The menacing Celtic set-pieces that Juventus feared so much never materialized tonight.
Both teams had an edge of desperation that ignited spats, generated stupid fouls, some bookings, many free kicks. There was little open play, many missed passes and very few Celtic shots, none worthy of mention. We didn’t look hungry enough – Ajax wanted it more, but still, they couldn’t score and it looked like anybody’s game.
As the half drew to a close, I decided that Lennon must have instructed the team to hold back, defend, go for a draw, and be ready to pounce against the run of play and seize the winner. I expected the team to come out in the second half guns blazing and ready for action. I was wrong.
One of the most annoying, frustrating things about the game was the lack of urgency shown by the players except for a couple of brief spells, right after they scored their lovely goal by Schone at 51minute mark – good teamwork, accurate passing, great timing, Forster didn’t have a chance – and in the 4 minutes of extra time. We showed no fire, no creativity, no anything. It was very disheartening to see our players be shadows of what they are capable of – there was none of the confidence, flair and football shown against Barca or Milan. We had no clear shots, a few belted high over the bar or straight at their goalie. I would have been able to save all attempts at scoring by Celtic tonight, and when I played, I was more of an attacking mid-fielder/right winger!
I could go on in more detail, but it was depressing and mind-numbing to watch live, never mind rehash now; I’ve summarized the main points.
The statistics – from UEFA website – tell the whole story:
Possession: Ajax 56% Celtic 44%
Shots : 15 8 I didn’t think we had that many; it didn’t feel like it.
On target : 11 3 Pass-back to goalie shots.
Corners : 6 3
Fouls : 16 15
Yellow cards: 2 2
No reds today, but we are now bottom of the table on 3 points. We did not deserve to win and will have to be back to being spectacular against Milan and Barca to have any hope of salvaging a chance of European football in the New Year. For those who missed the game, you missed nothing. Game over. End of…for now…walk on with hope in your heart and you’ll never walk alone. It’s football – anything can happen…2 games to go…
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