Celtic back on track to sink Rennes

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empty Celtic back on track to sink Rennes

Post by Col on Fri Nov 04, 2011 9:56 am

Celtic back on track to sink Rennes

Anthony Stokes' superb double helped the Bhoys claim their first European victory of the season and keep them firmly in contention for Europa League progression.

Kader Mangane headed the French side in front in the second minute and it looked as if it was going to be a dose of the same for Celtic.

But Stokes equalised with in typical style with a poacher's goal on the half-hour and the Irish man then went on to fire the Bhoys ahead before the break.

Gary Hooper came off the bench to seal the victory, finishing well at the end of a one-two with Georgios Samaras eight minutes from the end.

That moves Celtic onto five points in Group I, two behind joint-leaders Atletico Madrid and Udinese, while Rennes are bottom of the pile with two points.

It was the French outfit who took the lead as Julien Feret's corner was headed into the net by Rennes captain Mangane, with the home defence seemingly caught cold adopting zonal marking rather than going man for man.

The early goal seemed to stun Celtic and they did struggled to find the fluency required to put Rennes under pressure.

And the visitors were dangerous on the counter-attack in particular Pitropia, adept at mounting quick breaks from loose Celtic passes.

But Celtic finally carved out a meaningful attack, from which they levelled.

James Forrest who has been in magnificent form as of late drove at the Rennes defence and fired in a low shot that was palmed out by goalkeepeer Benoit Costil to Stokes, who converted the rebound from just outside the six-yard box.

And the Bhoys were in front by half-time as Rennes failed to cope with a long ball from keeper Fraser Forster.

Samaras who put in a great peformance headed on to Stokes, who got in behind the Rennes defence to drill a low shot into the corner of the net past Costil.

Glenn Loovens, who started the match wearing the captain's armband, did not appear after the interval as 17 year old Marcus Fraser was given his competitive debut as a substitute and didn't dissapoint, with fellow defenders Charlie Mulgrew, Thomas Rogne, Mark Wilson and Badr El-Kaddouri all unavailable.

Paddy McCourt, given a rare start in the Bhoys line-up, weaved his way into the Rennes penalty area early in the second half but an excellent challenge by Yann M'Vila prevented the winger getting his shot on target.

Another Feret set piece, this time a free-kick, created a headed chance for substitute Victor Montano but the forward could not keep his effort down as he rose unchallenged in the box.

Montano threatened again moments later, attempting to chip Forster from the inside-right channel, but the effort sailed across the face of goal and was eventually cleared.

Victor Wanyama who could be argued as man of the match tonight fired wide as Celtic looked to strengthen their lead.

Forster was called into action to tip a Youssouf Hadji shot over and Feret's replacement was denied by the Celtic keeper again moments later after heading towards goal at the back post.

And those saves proved crucial as the Bhoys extended their advantage through Hooper.

The striker, who had come on for Forrest, spread wide to Samaras and then raced forward to receive the Greek's return pass and slip the ball past Costil.

Rennes' misery was complete when they were reduced to 10 men, M'Vila picking up a second booking for a late tackle on McCourt's replacement Kris Commons.

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