The aim was clear for Celtic going into this game, don’t concede and nick a goal. With that in mind Ronny Deila set his team the task of pressing high up the pitch with great reward.
The high-energy approach caused the Inter defence to make unforced errors and loose passes, allowing Celtic to pick the ball up around the box and create chances.
This, coupled with the driving runs of Gary Mackay-Steven saw the Hoops look dangerous on the counter, with one such run resulting in an opportunity that the ex- Dundee United winger arguably should have scored, instead he stung the palms of Juan Pablo Carrizo.
Despite Inter enjoying most of the ball the system was certainly working, Craig Gordon was clearly back to his brilliant best and a Celtic goal looked imminent.
There were strong claims for a penalty in the 13th minute when Stuart Armstrong looked to have been taken down by a clumsy challenge and Celtic’s persistence appeared to be paying off.
But the tide was about to turn, and in the 26th minute Virgil van Dijk was harshly booked for a strong tackle on Rodrigo Palacio that saw the defender take all of the ball.Ten minutes later and van Dijk was seeing red, on this occasion he was deservedly booked for pulling Mauro Icardi’s shirt. Efe Ambrose replaced Mackay-Steven and the system became disjointed, leaving John Guidetti isolated up front.
Gordon continued to show his quality in the second half, saving well from Hernanes and then Icardi as Inter continued to apply the pressure but the Hoops still needed a goal, so on came James Forrest for Guidetti.
Even with Celtic down to ten men Inter didn’t create much in the way of chances, they certainly had a majority of possession, but there was a clear lack of goal scoring opportunities.
This was a strong indication that the away side could hold on, absorb the pressure and wait for the opportunity to counter-attack.But with three minutes remaining Fredy Guarin fired a right-footed shot into the top-right corner of a goal, putting an end to Celtic’s hopes despite their valiant display with ten men.