One of the most historic derbies in European Football geared up for another chapter in the story on Sunday as Celtic hosted Rangers in the second semifinal of the Scottish BetFred Cup.
After a 5-1 derby defeat to Celtic in the SPFL earlier this season, Rangers were looking to eliminate their Glasgow rivals from the cup competition on Sunday.
With Aberdeen defeating Greenock Morton 2-0 on Saturday, one half of the November 27th final had already been finalized.
Throughout the 90+ minutes, Celtic were the more dominant side creating plenty of chances against a Rangers side that looked to hit on the counter. As both teams entered the halftime intermission, both managers knew they had reinforcements at their disposal. Celtic had three shots saved by Matt Gilks.
Celtic’s Erik Sviatchenko headed what looked like an opening goal into the back of the net, but referee Craig Thomson called it off for an apparent shove. Celtic’s Tom Rogic came close to breaking the deadlock soon after but his shot whiskered wide. Celtic’s Jozo Simunovic made a crucial block on Jason Holt‘s opportunity inside the box to keep Rangers out.
Celtic’s Scott Sinclair had his second-half free kick saved onto the bar from Gilks who kept Rangers alive despite numerous chances.
After constant pressure, Celtic had their breakthrough in the 87th minute as Moussa Dembele tapped home Leigh Griffith‘s cross from six-yards out to make it 1-0. Heartbreak for Matt Gilks who saw the ball go through his legs and into the goal.
— BT Sport Football (@btsportfootball) October 23, 2016
Rangers tried to fight back for an equalizer but failed to do so. At the final whistle, Brendan Rodgers‘ Celtic squad had booked their spot into the BetFred Cup Final at Hampden Park. The final set for November 27th will feature Rodgers’ Celtic vs Derek McInnes’ Aberdeen, the top two teams from the Scottish Premiership a season ago.
Even though it was their second consecutive defeat against their local rivals, according to the Daily Record, Rangers boss Chris Warburton feels the gap between the two clubs is getting narrower. “I’m very pleased with many aspects. We went long too often in the second half but that’s the emotion of this type of game.There are a lot of positives to take out of today. I’m never happy to lose a game of football, especially here, but the gap is getting narrower.”
The 20 year-old who joined from Fulham, is continuing to pay off huge for Celtic. Dembele has 12 goals in 13 appearances in all competitions. Brendan Rodgers will look to lift his first trophy with Celtic after joining as manager this summer. Be sure to check back on November 27th for all the recap from the Scottish BetFred Cup Final.
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