Everton keeps Celtic winless in Sydney Super Cup

Celtic's James Forrest tussles with Vitaliy Mykolenko of Everton during their Sydney Super Cup clash in Sydney.

Celtic's James Forrest tussles with Vitaliy Mykolenko of Everton during their Sydney Super Cup clash in Sydney. Photo: Getty

Coach Ange Postecoglou insists he is not disappointed with Celtic’s 4-2 penalty-shootout loss to struggling Premier League outfit Everton despite it denying him the chance to taste victory on his return to Australia.

The reigning Scottish Premiership champions’ visit for the Sydney Super Cup marked Postecoglou’s first time coaching on Australian soil since resigning as Socceroos coach in 2017.

But the homecoming, designed to help Celtic and their opponents keep match fitness up during the World Cup break, turned sour with two defeats for a side that has only lost one of 15 domestic games this year.

After Sunday’s match finished 0-0, the Bhoys missed their first two attempts at penalty shot to dig themselves into a hole at Accor Stadium.

Celtic substitute Georgios Giakoumakis belted the first shot well high of the crossbar, before Reo Hatate hit the woodwork on the left to all but guarantee a win for Everton.

Star forward Anthony Gordon sealed the result with his strike on Everton’s fifth attempt.

Celtic controlled the battles for possession and territory and enjoyed twice the number of shots as their rivals in front of 41,121, a crowd bigger than any A-League attendance since the 2018-19 grand final.

But despite the bevy of missed chances, Postecoglou said he felt his side gave a better account of itself than in the 2-1 loss to Sydney FC on Thursday night.

“We were more like ourselves tonight,” he said.

“I thought we dominated the game, we were just missing a goal.

“I’m disappointed there wasn’t goals for the supporters but in terms of our performance, I was happy.”

In a scoreless first half, the Bhoys’ best chances came from free kicks just outside the box.

Celtic had four opportunities in the 20 minutes before halftime but could not ice any of them.

Jota struck the crossbar with the first of those shots but Everton hung on as the ball was punched away by goalkeeper Asmir Begovic, who looked comfortable standing in for England World Cup representative Jordan Pickford.

The Toffees seemed more likely to break the deadlock once they were in position early on, Demarai Gray proving a menacing presence down the wing, but couldn’t hold the ball like their rivals.

Celtic fans voice their support during the Sydney Super Cup match against Everton at Accor Stadium. Photo: Getty

Everton has struggled to score in the Premier League this season and became less and less enterprising in attack as the second half wore on and the game became a scrappy arm-wrestle.

Substitute Liel Abada could not make the best of a James Forrest cross in Celtic’s last good chance and the game went to penalties, where Everton claimed an unlikely victory.

The result eases some of the pressure on the side’s beleaguered coach Frank Lampard, who has the Blues sitting only one spot out of the relegation zone after three wins from 15 matches to start the Premier League season.

“I’m pretty pleased with elements of the game,” Lampard said.

“Tough game; we’ve got a bit of jet lag in our bodies still. Celtic were a little bit more prepared on that front.

“I thought we showed a lot of spirit. I’m happy.”


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