Shakhter Karagandy 2 Celtic 0 match report: Celtic stunned by minnows from Kazakhstan in Champions League play-off

First-leg defeat ensures a difficult task in Glasgow next week

Celtic have left themselves with it all to do to reach the Champions League after a surprise defeat to Kazakhstan champions Shakhter Karagandy in the first leg of their play-off at the Astana Arena.

The Scottish champions started the game well but found themselves behind in the 12th minute when Andrei Finonchenko took advantage of some slack defending to score from close range.

Kris Commons rattled the bar with a thunderous drive in the 19th minute with the ball bouncing down on to the line but Neil Lennon's side struggled at times with the route-one approach taken by a home side who looked limited in other aspects of their game.

The visitors had the best of things again in the second half with James Forrest missing a chance from six yards but in the 77th minute powerful striker Sergei Khizhnichenko headed in a second to leave the shell-shocked Hoops having to make amends in next week's second leg in Glasgow.

Lennon, though, will be puzzled as to how his side have work to do against a basic team who themselves may wonder how they managed to emerge from the tie with a win.

Two of the Hoops' summer signings, Virgil van Dijk and Steven Mouyokolo, made their European debuts and started in central defence together for the first time as regular stopper Efe Ambrose dropped to the bench.

Mikael Lustig replaced Adam Matthews at full-back, the Wales defender recovering from a hamstring injury but only finding a place as substitute as Forrest came in for Beram Kayal.

Shakhter, the first Kazakh side to reach the play-off round of the competition, were playing 114 miles away from home in the 30,000-capacity national stadium, which was close to full with a couple of dozen Hoops fans in one corner behind a goal.

Celtic dominated the early stages on the artificial surface and indeed could have been two ahead before they fell behind.

The home side escaped in the fourth minute after Shakhtar keeper Aleksandr Mokin fumbled a Charlie Mulgrew corner and Van Dijk and Commons tried to get the ball in but it was scrambled away for another corner.

When Commons flighted the ball into the box from the other side, the Dutch defender powered a header in which was parried by Mokin and the Kazakh champions somehow survived again.

The home side were probably as surprised as anyone when they forced their way into the lead with what was a basic goal.

A long throw-in from the left by midfielder Gediminas Vicius was headed on by Nikola Vasiljevic and Finonchenko stole past Hoops midfielder Joe Ledley to knock the ball past Fraser Forster from close range.

The home fans could not believe their luck and they cheered every attack in the moments following but the Parkhead side stabilised and when Commons hit the woodwork it reminded them that Celtic remained a threat.

In the 29th minute, just after Shakhter defender Sergei Maliy had headed a cross from Aleksandar Simcevic over the bar from 14 yards, Georgios Samaras skimmed a header from a whipped-in Mulgrew free-kick just inches past the far post.

The Parkhead side had another opportunity four minutes from the break when Van Dijk got on the end of a Mulgrew corner but his header was directed straight at Mokin.

Celtic came out for the second half with some purpose and set about getting themselves level.

Hoops left-back Emilio Izaguirre should have netted in the 51st minute after taking a Commons pass and burrowing his way into the box but he slashed at his shot which flew over the bar.

Shakhter were defending in number and relying on the occasional break for respite.

One Shakhter break ended with Khizhnichenko getting a shot away which lacked the power to really test Forster but which brought thunderous cheers from the home fans, by now sensing a famous victory.

The Parkhead side continued to press and in the 72nd minute Forrest had a glorious chance when Izaguirre planted a cross on his head six yards from goal but the Scotland midfielder's header was straight at Mokin who gratefully blocked to safety.

The closing stages were frantic but again Celtic were slack when conceding the second.

Mouyokolo did well to block a goal-bound shot from Khizhnichenko but when the ball was crossed back in to the box by Vicius he steered a header past Forster from 10 yards.

The Glasgow giants were stunned and the final minutes passed in something of a blur for the visitors with Mulgrew heading over from six yards in the final minute.

After getting past Cliftonville and Elfsborg in the previous two qualifier, the Parkhead side now need to pull something special out of the bag next week, although in front of their own fans that is far from unlikely.

PA

News
Denny Miller in 1959 remake of Tarzan, the Ape Man
people
Arts and Entertainment
Cheryl despairs during the arena auditions
tvX Factor review: Drama as Cheryl and Simon spar over girl band

News
Piers Morgan tells Scots they might not have to suffer living on the same island as him if they vote ‘No’ to Scottish Independence
news
News
i100Exclusive interview with the British analyst who helped expose Bashar al-Assad's use of Sarin gas
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Angel Di Maria celebrates his first goal for Manchester United against QPR
Football4-0 victory is team's first win under new manager Louis van Gaal
Arts and Entertainment
art
News
newsIn short, yes
Arts and Entertainment
Rob James-Collier, who plays under-butler Thomas Barrow, admitted to suffering sleepless nights over the Series 5 script
tv'Thomas comes right up to the abyss', says the actor
Arts and Entertainment
Calvin Harris claimed the top spot in this week's single charts
music
Sport
BoxingVideo: The incident happened in the very same ring as Tyson-Holyfield II 17 years ago
News
Groundskeeper Willie has backed Scottish independence in a new video
people
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor poses the question of whether we are every truly alone in 'Listen'
tvReview: Possibly Steven Moffat's most terrifying episode to date
News
i100
Life and Style
Cara Delevigne at the TopShop Unique show during London Fashion Week
fashion
News
The life-sized tribute to Amy Winehouse was designed by Scott Eaton and was erected at the Stables Market in Camden
peopleBut quite what the singer would have made of her new statue...
Sport
England's Andy Sullivan poses with his trophy and an astronaut after winning a trip to space
sport
News
peopleThe actress has agreed to host the Met Gala Ball - but not until 2015
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week
The fall of Rome? Cash-strapped Italy accused of selling its soul to the highest bidder

The fall of Rome?

Italy's fears that corporate-sponsored restoration projects will lead to the Disneyfication of its cultural heritage
Glasgow girl made good

Glasgow girl made good

Kelly Macdonald was a waitress when she made Trainspotting. Now she’s taking Manhattan
Sequins ahoy as Strictly Come Dancing takes to the floor once more

Sequins ahoy as Strictly takes to the floor once more

Judy Murray, Frankie Bridge and co paired with dance partners
Wearable trainers and other sporty looks

Wearable trainers and other sporty looks

Alexander Wang pumps it up at New York Fashion Week
The landscape of my imagination

The landscape of my imagination

Author Kate Mosse on the place that taught her to tell stories