Scottish Cup Semi-Final
Sunday, April 14, 2019
Hampden Park, Glasgow
(Forrest 45, Edouard 61, Rogic 68)
CELTIC stormed to their sixth consecutive domestic cup final with a dominant 3-0 victory over Aberdeen in the Scottish Cup semi-final at Hampden.
James Forrest fired the holders ahead just before the break with a sensational goal. Odsonne Edouard then doubled the lead from the spot in the second half before Tom Rogic put the game to bed with Celtic’s third.
The game started at a frantic pace and Celtic immediately set about their opponents as soon as the whistle was blown for kick-off.
A long ball up to Odsonne Edouard sparked the first Hoops attack in the opening minute. Callum McGregor collected the ball on the overlap and cut a pass back inside the box for Forrest but Andrew Considine slid in to poke clear the ball before Forrest to get on the end of it.
Neil Lennon’s side did not allow Aberdeen to settle and continued to threaten in the early stages. Jozo Simunovic almost put Celtic ahead twice inside a minute early on. The first chance saw him unchallenged as he carried the ball from the halfway line before shooting from the edge of the box.
Joe Lewis had to dive low to his right to deny the Croatian. The resulting corner was equally as troubling for the Dons who would have been relieved to see Simunovic’s side-footed effort from close range flash just wide of the post.
It was clear early on that it would be a physical and fiercely contested game and both sides picked up bookings. Dominic Ball struggled to deal with the attacking intent of Jonny Hayes and was booked for a late challenge on the Irishman.
Forrest’s yellow card was frustrating one for Celtic though. From out on the left, the Hoops winger made a dash for goal and was held back by Considine, but the referee issued Forrest with a yellow card for apparently diving.
Celtic dominated possession and the defence ensured Scott Bain had little to do in the first half. The best chance Derek McInnes’ team had was a header from Lewis Ferguson which was just wide of goal. Much of the action was in the Aberdeen half and more opportunities followed for the champions.
Kieran Tierney created a good opportunity for Celtic when he broke clear of his man out on the left and delivered a low driven pass across the face of goal. Edouard controlled it with his back to goal, turned and shot but the attempt was blocked.
Aberdeen were reduced to 10 men just before the break after Ball was shown a second yellow for a reckless challenge in the middle of the pitch. The Dons defender was late with his attempt to header the ball and it resulted in a head collision with Ryan Christie.
The Celtic midfielder was stretchered off and Tom Rogic was brought on in his place.Forrest and McGregor linked up well just before half-time to give Celtic a well-deserved lead. McGregor rolled the ball inside to Forrest who turned, ran across the face of goal and curled a sensational shot into the far corner from around 25-yards.
The half-time whistle couldn’t come soon enough for Aberdeen who looked increasingly unable to deal with Celtic’s attacking football. Forrest nearly stabbed in a second goal when he ran on to Rogic’s pass inside the box and Mikael Lustig’s header was well saved by Lewis.
Celtic looked eager to kill the game off with another goal early in the second period. McGregor was the first to have a go when he ran on to Hayes’ pass from the byline. He took a touch and drilled a shot across goal but it was just off target.
Aberdeen crumbled under the pressure 15 minutes after the restart when they conceded a penalty. Lustig played a long diagonal ball into the box for Hayes and Michael Devlin brought him down as he tore through on goal. Edouard stepped up and converted his 20th goal of the season.
The Dons’ afternoon then got worse when Lewis Ferguson was shown a straight red for a two-footed tackle on Rogic in the edge of the box. Lustig’s attempt from the set-piece was blocked by the wall, but the rebound fell to him and the Swede quickly teed up Rogic who coolly slotted the ball into the bottom far corner with his left foot.
With a three goal lead and Aberdeen, whose manager was sent to the stand shortly after the third goal, down to nine men Celtic were comfortably in control for the remainder of the match.
Substitutes Scott Sinclair and Timo Weah provided an added injection of pace late in the second half and the pair both troubled Lewis with attempts on goal.
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Simunovic almost scored what would have been a goal of the season contender five minutes from the end when he connected with Lustig’s lofted cross into the box with a volley, but his effort was narrowly off target.
Edouard was unfortunate not to have a second goal right at the end, but Lewis pulled off a good save to push clear the shot from 25-yards.The win means Celtic will meet Hearts in the Scottish Cup final at Hampden on May 25.
CELTIC: Bain; Lustig, Simunovic, Ajer, Tierney; Brown, McGregor, Christie (Rogic 43), Hayes (Sinclair 74), Forrest (Weah 74), Edouard.
Subs: De Vries, Toljan, Benkovic, Ntcham
ABERDEEN: Lewis; Considine, McKenna, Stewart, Cosgrove (Wilson 85), May (Devlin 43), Ferguson, Ball, Campbell, McLennan, Loew
Subs: Cerny, Gleeson, Halford, Ross, Virtanen