CFR Cluj (CFR 1907 Kolozsvár in Hungarian) defeated Scottish champion Celtic FC to 2-0 in their final game of the UEFA Europa League group stages on Thursday, meaning they finished second in their group behind the Scots and advanced. Kolozsvár/Cluj-Napoca team will discover its future, knockout phase opponent Monday afternoon.
In front of twelve thousands spectators – including about thousand Celtic fans as well – CFR, which needed at least a draw for advancing, stepped on the pitch with their best lineup. On the other hand the Scottish champion, already guaranteed top spot in the group coming into the game, lined up without many of its key players. For example Fraser Forster, Callum McGregor, Ryan Christie, Tom Rogic and Odsonne Edouard were left behind and resting in Glasgow, while Scott Brown was suspended and Jeremie Frimpong was ineligible.
The home team created more chances already in the first half, but still no goal was scored in the first 45 minutes. But after the break, in the third minute of the second half, Burcă headed the ball into the net after Deac’s corner kick. Following this CFR still remained the more dangerous team and in the 70th minute after a long cross by Culio, Deac gave an assist to Djokovoch who secured the Romanian champion’s victory by kicking the ball into the goal.
With this victory CFR finished second behind Celtic and advanced from its group. Moreover with its 12 points this was the most successful group stage appearance of the Kolozsvár team ever, and it will play in the knockout phase -starting February- for the second time in the club’s history after 2013.
The opponent will be drawn by the UEFA in Nyon Monday afternoon (December 16.). CFR will get on of the following 15 teams: Ajax Amsterdam, Arsenal, Basaksehir, FC Basel, Benfica, SC Braga, Espanyol, KAA Gent, Internazionale Milano, LASK Linz, Malmö FF, Manchester United, FC Porto, Red Bull Salzburg, FC Sevilla. The first leg ties will be played on Thursday February 20. While the return legs will be played one week later on Thursday, February 27.
Title image: CFR players celebrating their advance to the knockout phase in UEFA European League on December 12. 2019. (Photo: CFR Cluj Facebook)