Celtic B held to draw in England as Premier League academy opposition strike late
Celtic B were held to a late 2-2 draw against a Leicester City’s academy side in their third Premier League International Cup fixture.
A double from Tsonaelo Letsosa put Celtic in a good position to secure all three points in the group stage. However, two second-half strikes, one in stoppage time, saw Leicester hold the Bhoys to a draw.
After kicking off this tournament with a closely contested 4-2 defeat against Fulham in October, the young Celts were able to produce a fantastic result last week.
Darren O’Dea and Stephen McManus’ side put in a top performance to pick up their first three points in the group stage, with a 4-2 victory of their own against Wolves.
Following last week’s win south of the border and another victory over Tranent Juniors in a top-of-the-table clash at the weekend, the Bhoys would have gone into this game full of confidence.
Their start to proceedings at the Leicester City training ground showcased that confidence, as Ben Summers cannoned a shot off the crossbar in the opening few minutes.
The home side also had some opportunities to open the scoring in the first half. However, it was Celtic who took advantage at the half-hour mark.
Tsonaelo Letsosa scored for the second week running in this competition to hand the Hoops the lead, as the midfielder produced a composed first-time finish from an Ewan Otoo cross on the left.
Going into the second half, things got even better for Celtic, as Letsosa scored his and Celtic’s second goal of the game to take a healthy lead.
Once again, the midfielder made no mistake with his finish inside the penalty area, slotting the ball in the bottom corner with the aid of a slight deflection.
The home side went on the hunt for a way back into the game, and just before the hour mark, Leicester were able to pull one goal back through Paul Appiah.
As the young Celtic side looked to hang on for all three points, there was a cruel ending to the competitive fixture as the EPL academy side scored a late equaliser.
Kian Pennant was on hand to score a 91st-minute leveller for his side after taking advantage of a slight mix-up at the back.
Celtic B boss Stephen McManus reacted to the result by stating [Celtic FC]: “They’re in there really disappointed and dejected because they felt they’ve put in enough to see the game out.
“Anytime you concede a late goal, it’s a hard one to take, but I think when we analyse it, then a draw was probably a fair result.
“We’ve come down here, and they’re a very good side, and we were really brave in possession and stuck to our principles in how we try and play the game.
“It’s disappointing to lose that goal late on, but these young boys are getting different tests coming down to play a Premier League side, and it’s another learning experience.
“We will analyse and go through it as we always do, but this tournament has been a great test, and it’s shown the boys different aspects of their game they might not get domestically.
“It’s been a brilliant opportunity to come down, and we still have one more game, and we’re still right in the competition, which is great.”
Thankfully for the Hoops, they will have a quick opportunity to bounce back from the slight disappointment of a late equaliser last night.
They take on experienced Lowland League outfit East Kilbride in league action at K-Park this weekend, and it is bound to be another good test for the youngsters.
There is also still a knockout place to play for in the Premier League International Cup in Celtic’s final fixture of the group stage when they take on Blackburn Rovers next week.
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