Suduva 1-1 Celtic: Ntcham header gives Celtic advantage
Less than ten minutes later, Suduva scored an equaliser with their first serious attack. Kieran Tierney fouled Andro Svrljuga and Vaidas Slavickas curled the resulting free-kick into the box. Verbickas was able to rise unchallenged and headed in from 10 yards out.From there on, Celtic dominated possession but couldn’t make it count. Johnston, Kristoffer Ajer and Callum McGregor all had chances to put their side ahead before the break.After the restart, Celtic continued to hold control of the game but suffered an early blow when Jozo Simunovic was forced off with an ankle injury. The defender was replaced by Lustig. At the other end of the pitch they continued to be frustrated.Moussa Dembele hit the side netting after being picked out by Ntcham before Tierney fired over from distance. In a rare Suduva attack Julius Kasparavicius forced a smart save from Craig Gordon. Rodgers made a double change, introducing Emilio Izaguirre and Leigh Griffiths for Johnston and Gamboa but the substitutions didn’t improve his side’s fortunes. Celtic continued to push for a goal but the closest they came was with an injury time header from Ajer that went over the bar, the final whistle coming shortly after and leaving the Glasgow side with an advantage in the tie but a measure of frustration at not taking back a healthy lead. Celtic have drawn 1-1 with FK Suduva in the first leg of their Europa League play-off.The Scottish champions took an early lead through Olivier Ntcham but an equaliser scored by Ovidijus Verbickas and a failure to make the most of dominating possession meant Celtic couldn’t take a lead back to Glasgow for next week’s second leg.Manager Brendan Rodgers gave Michael Johnston his first European start and played Christian Gamboa ahead of Mikael Lustig at right back as he aimed to take control of the tie and take a step towards the Europa League group stage after the disappointment of missing out on the Champions League.He saw his side make a dream start when they took the lead in the third minute. Johnston beat his man on the left and swung in a cross that was met by Ntcham after he ran from deep. The French midfielder headed past Ivan Kardum and Celtic looked to be on the road to a comfortable evening in Marijampole.