Celtic ease into Champions League third qualifying round, smack KR Reykjavik
JUL 22, 2014 8:01p ET
Celtic eased into the second qualifying round of the UEFA Champions League with a 4-0 victory over KR Reykjavik at Murrayfield.
A brace from Virgil van Dijk and another goal from Teemu Pukki inside the opening half-hour set up the win, before the latter completed the scoring just under 20 minutes from time to complete a 5-0 aggregate success. The Hoops opened the scoring on 14 minutes when Stefan Magnusson was caught under a corner from Kris Commons and Van Dijk bundled the ball over the line from close-range after Charlie Mulgrew sent a header into the six-yard box.
Magnusson was culpable once again six minutes later as Mikael Lustig got on the end of another deep Commons corner to nod the ball back across goal and Van Dijk planted his header inside the post. Pukki (27) put the match beyond the visitors when he stretched to turn the ball over the line from a low Callum McGregor delivery after Emilio Izaguirre opened up the Reykjavic defense with a sublime pass.
And the diminutive striker added the fourth when he touched the ball past the advancing goalkeeper and blasted his angled shot into the top corner on 71 minutes. Celtic came close to opening the scoring after five minutes when Commons played a superb reverse pass to Pukki, but his effort was blocked by Magnusson before the keeper turned the rebound from Leigh Griffiths round the post.
Pukki later showed a great turn of pace before forcing Magnusson into the smart save just before he got on the score-sheet, and the Finland international flashed another effort narrowly wide in the latter stages of the first half. Commons twice tested Magnusson in the early stages of the second half with two fierce shots which the keeper was equal to.
And when Commons did beat Magnusson with a drive seven minutes from the end, the midfielder was denied by the post.
After the match Hoops boss Deila revealed he had not felt the need to speak to his keeper, saying: "We want to keep Fraser. Of course we want to qualify for the Champions League so we want to keep him."
"He hasn't (indicated a desire to leave). He has done a good job since he has come to Celtic but Celtic have also been fantastic for him and I hope that will continue because we need our best players and he is a fantastic keeper. Something will happen in the end but if it happens now or in the winter or next summer, I don't know, we will see. But we have to keep on going. Things are happening around my players all the time but Fraser is an unbelievable professional and I know that he really wants to play in the Champions League."
Deila was happy for the most part with his side's attitude against a limited Icelandic side and laughed when it was mentioned that the Celtic fans had booed when Pukki was replaced by Liam Henderson immediately after scoring his second in the 71st minute.
The Norwegian said: "We wanted to see Kris Commons in the number nine role - but I will keep that in my mind for the next time, if they start booing. Teemu was good. He had one or two chances before he scored. We started very well. The first 30 minutes was about killing the game and that's what we wanted to do with good tempo on the ball."
He added: "We worked a lot on set play which will be important when we go further so two goals today was a bonus. We wanted to do the same things in the second-half but I didn't think we managed that so that is what we have to work on. We have 90 minutes to try to really destroy the opponent, when you get three goals, you want to go for more."