Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 28 December 2014

Celtic 3-1 Trabzonspor: Hoops move into final of Antalya Cup in Turkey

Teemu Pukki
Teemu Pukki

Celtic's misfiring strikers, Temmu Pukki and Amido Balde, found their range in Turkey on Thursday night to give Celtic a 3-1 victory over Trabzonspor.

Balde and Pukki both struck impressive goals as Celtic moved into the final of the Antalya Cup, where they will play the winners of Friday's clash between Ajax and Galatasaray.

The pair have only scored five goals between them in competitive fixtures since joining the club last summer and they were determined to shine in Turkey.

Celtic took up the option of postponing their Scottish Premiership fixture with Kilmarnock on Saturday in order to have their mini winter break, but manager Neil Lennon named a strong team, including a first-choice back four plus skipper Scott Brown.

Celtic started very strongly with winger James Forrest causing problems for the Turkish side.

Derk Boerrigter had a header cleared off the line and Virgil van Dijk forced an excellent save before Pukki released Balde, who curled just wide.

Brown came close before the Turkish side rallied but Pukki opened the scoring in the 32nd minute when he fired the ball into the far corner from 18 yards.

Balde's cross almost forced an own goal before Celtic doubled their lead in the 37th minute when the Portuguese striker and former Dunfermline and Hibernian defender Sol Bamba battled to meet Emilio Izagguire's cross, with the ball ending in the net and the latter credited with an own goal.

Emre Gural pulled one back before half-time, when Lennon brought on Joe Ledley, Charlie Mulgrew and Kris Commons.

Celtic continued to dominate and Balde struck a glorious third for the Scottish champions when he smashed a shot into the top corner from 20 yards in the 57th minute.

The game fizzled out with a number of substitutions being made but Celtic finished convincing winners.

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