Celtic thrash Astana in Champions League first leg
Celtic have nearly secured their place in the Champions League group stages after beating Kazakhstan’s Astana 5-0 in the playoff round first leg.
Evgeni Postnikov scored an own goal before Scott Sinclair netted twice. James Forrest and Leigh Griffiths completed the scoring for the Hoops.
The first chance of the match fell to Sinclair in the third minute. His shot went narrowly wide of the right post though from Griffiths’ free-kick.
After Celtic pressure in the early stages, Astana counterattacked but Junior Kabananga’s shot went wide. Patrick Twumasi was then denied when Craig Gordon came off his line to deal with the danger.
Celtic took the lead after 32 minutes. Tom Rogic beat three defenders down the right before his shot from a tight angle was turned into the net by Postnikov.
Postnikov nearly made amends for his own goal with Astana’s next attack but his header went wide.
Sinclair doubled Celtic’s lead just before half time. He broke free of the Astana defence to pick up a through ball and finish from the right side of the area.
The winger scored his second goal of the game in the 59th minute. A beautiful through ball from Griffiths found Sinclair unmarked in the area and last season’s player of the year finished through the legs of goalkeeper Aleksandr Mokin.
Celtic’s dominance continued and Forrest made it four with 12 minutes remaining. He picked up Griffiths pass on the right before smashing the ball into the net from a tight angle.
A fifth came in the 88th minute when Griffiths topped off his excellent performance by curling a left-footed shot into the bottom corner.
Celtic travel to Astana for the second leg next Tuesday.