Celtic’s dominance of English Premier League club Everton counted for nothing on Sunday as Ange Postecoglou’s Scottish champions were beaten in a penalty shootout in a frustrating end to their Sydney Super Cup campaign.
Shock 2-1 losers last Thursday night to Sydney FC despite dominating possession and creating a host of chances, the Hoops were desperate for redemption against the Toffees in front of more than 41,000 fans.
However, despite having scored 50 times in just 15 Scottish Premiership games this season, Postecoglou’s men again lacked a killer instinct in front of goal, wasting a host of opportunities against an Everton team that didn’t have a shot on target during 90 minutes of football that finished 0-0.
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Celtic’s woes continued in a penalty shootout that took place at the completion of normal time, with no extra-time played.
High profile pair Georgios Giakoumakis and Reo Hatete both missed their spot kicks, with Everton – who sit just one place above the relegation zone on the Premier League ladder – winning the shootout 4-2.
“We dominated the game – we were just missing a goal,” Postecoglou, who has been linked to the Everton job, said.
“It was much more like us in terms of our overall play and playing our football.
“It’s disappointing there wasn’t goals for our supporters, but in terms of our performance, I was happy.”
Everton coach Frank Lampard said he was pleased with “elements” of his team’s performance.
“We’ve got a bit of jet-lag in our bodies still … we showed a lot of spirit,” Lampard said.
“The support was great for both teams. We appreciate it very much that we’re supported on the other side of the world.”
Celtic dominated the early exchanges but it was Everton who had the first two chances of the match.
The first came in the eighth minute via a goal-bound Demarai Gray shot that was deflected wide for a corner.
Then three minutes later, French midfielder Neal Maupay butchered a great chance when he failed to hit the target with only goalkeeper Joe Hart to beat.
Celtic’s first genuine chance came in the 29th minute with a free-kick from Portuguese star Jota that hit the crossbar.
The Hoops had another opportunity seven minutes later when Japanese midfielder Hatate delivered a well-placed pass to countryman Kyogo Furuhashi, whose shot was well saved by Everton goalkeeper Asmir Begovic.
The 35-year-old Bosnian gloveman – standing in for Everton’s first-choice keeper Jordan Pickford, who is in Qatar on World Cup duty with England – again came to the Toffees’ rescue in first-half stoppage when he parried a stinging David Turnbull free-kick away to safety.
Begovic again came up trumps five minutes after half-time when he denied Furuhashi from point-blank range with a fine save after the former Vissel Kobe marksman was found unmarked by Sead Haksabanovic.
The Hoops continued to dominate possession, with a great movement leading to an opening for Turnbull in the 77th minute.
However, a weak finish from the 23-year-old midfielder was comfortably dealt with by Begovic.
Celtic should have won the game in the 89th minute but substitute Liel Abada somehow failed to hit the target with an open goal beckoning after being presented the chance by Forrest.
The miss summed up Celtic’s frustrating performances in the Sydney Super Cup, which concludes on Wednesday night when Everton meet Western Sydney Wanderers at CommBank Stadium.