A confident Ronny Deila has claimed that Celtic can see off Malmo in their second leg Champions League play-off tie next week despite conceding a late goal in the 3-2 win over the Swedes at Celtic Park on Wednesday night.
Celtic had taken a surprising two goal lead within just ten minutes at Parkhead thanks to striker Leigh Griffiths and midfielder Nir Bitton, before Stefan Johansen missed a gilt edged chance to make it 3-0 and kill the game off when one on one with the Malmo keeper.
However, Malmo pulled a goal back on 52 minutes through Jo Inge Berget who was on loan at Celtic Park for the first half of last season. Before Griffiths scored his second of the game just ten minutes later to make it 3-1 to Celtic.
However with the last kick of the game, Berget popped up once again to score a second goal for Malmo and give the Swedish side every chance of progressing to the group stages of the Champions League for a second year in a row and to make Celtic’s trip more nervy than it really should have been.
Despite conceding two goals to let Malmo back into the tie, Deila said: “I think we had good control of the game and had good chances. I’m very satisfied with that, we now have to produce it in Malmo. Of course you get disappointed when you concede a goal in the last second but it happened and we have to look at it overall.
“We are one goal ahead and they have to beat us in Malmo. It could be a better result but it is still an okay result. We played well in the first half, especially at the start of the game when we were all over them. But it was disappointing in the end.
“We haven’t conceded goals from set plays this season, that’s one of the first. We had two players going for same challenge and the ball bounced down to their player. Those are the small details. We had enough people in the box to take care of their players.
“But we scored three goals as well and that’s positive. We are ahead before the second game. Of course we can beat Malmo away, that’s for sure. They have to attack us and that can suit us.”
However, Malmo head coach Age Hareide claims that his side are now favourites to progress despite the first leg 3-2 defeat.
He added: “It was a terrible start for us, conceding two goals in ten minutes. It didn’t look good at all. I don’t know what happened we have to look at that. Credit to the boys we got back in and at 2-1 we had control of the match. Celtic started to get tired.
“We saw that against Inverness, we saw that they don’t have the legs for 90 minutes. But then we made silly mistakes and you can’t do that at this level. At 3-1 it looked down again but credit to the boys we worked very hard to get the goal back at 3-2. Now we have a very good chance to beat them at home we only need one goal.
“We gave the ball away far too easily in the first half. It could be because of the atmosphere. We have some young players who have not played in this before.”
In the previous round Malmo overturned a 2-0 deficit against Red Bull Salzburg in Austria to secure a 3-2 aggregate win in the second leg.
Hareide continued: “We had to do it when it was much more difficult. Our fans will help us and Rosenberg and Adu are back, two class players who will strengthen us. We are up for it.”
What are your thoughts on the second leg? Can Celtic secure their place in the group stages of the Champions League or will it be Malmo’s night?