Tenth Straight Home Shut-Out Sees Malmö Through Past Celtic
MFF made it to the group stage!
…OF THE CHAMPIONS LEAGUE! Just in case you weren’t aware of which tournament they were in, or somehow missed the title.
MFF (and everyone else) finds out their group tomorrow (Europa League draw is Friday), and I start a new job tonight, so unfortunately this won’t be the longest recap. I will however get a group preview once those are announced. The groups begin play September 15, so I have a solid two weeks to get that out (Celtic starts Europa League play Sept 17, but I won’t be following them during the group stage, other than perhaps the occasional mention on the Free Culture Sports Show).
If you want to see my reactions, as they happen, you can check out https://status.vinilox.eu/sportazinelive. Of course, in time, that will get supplanted by newer games. I’ll probably be using twitter for the Manchester United / LFC match, since that’s where Evan is.
Both Celtic and MFF had early chances. Berget looked good at the start again, but it was Rosenberg that made the difference, scoring what would be the winning goal in the 23rd minute. MFF caused an own goal in the 54th to give some insurance, that was ultimately not needed. UEFA initially credited the Uruguayan Carvalho with the second goal, but changed it to an own goal by Boyata. Both goals came from corners, and those were not the only times Celtic’s zonal marking was not working.
MFF had 5 shots on target to Celtic’s 2. MFF had 7 shots off target to Celtic’s 5 (which leaves one to wonder how UEFA comes to 16 and 11 shots respectively, but whatever). While those stats tell one story, another is that Celtic had 60% of possession. Once MFF got the second goal, they sat back, until the very end of the game, when it looked more likely that MFF would score a third on the counter than Celtic would draw it level on aggregate (though MFF still would have gone through on away goals).
Like the first game, this one was chippy. Celtic players saw six yellows, while MFF saw four. There easily could have been more. No players were sent off. The disallowed Celtic goal seemed like a makeup call for the phantom interference on the other side of the pitch, but as far as phantom calls go, the one against MFF was worse (though the one against Celtic more costly). Aside from that, I thought it was a decently officiated game – certainly fair. We can’t say how a Celtic goal would have changed the complexion of the game, but if you just add a goal to Celtic’s tally, MFF still goes through.
Commons came in at halftime for Celtic, which I thought might cause trouble, but ultimately did not. Ultimately, it was Carvalho coming on that made the difference. While it’s obvious his flick-on caused the own goal, his pace in the middle of the park defensively helped neutralize the Celtic counter. He’s also 2 cm taller than Bengtsson, which helped stifle the Celtic big men on set pieces. Bengtsson is good enough in the air, but he did not look up to the pace of this level of European football.
The crowd was rocking. While the domestic campaign has been disappointing this season, but the players and the supporters are up for the European nights. Long may it continue.