A thrilling game of football which neither team deserved to lose that will always be remembered for one of the more bizarre penalty shoot outs in the cups history.
A beautiful clear Autumn afternoon as well as the return of the notorious Kieron Nolan to Beijing had everyone in high spirits before kick-off to for this tasty cup encounter.
To get the match going a neat one two gave Richie Lenehan a simple one on one chance which put the Celtics in the lead after 20 minutes. Into the second half and the Celtics who looked in control lost concentration as the clinical Japanese scored two very tidy goals in quick succession to go in front.
With fill in keeper Alan Kelly unsure of the rules of football Kozo were awarded an indirect free kick inside the box for a pass back. Kozo took their chance orchestrating an unstoppable rocket into the top left corner.
With 15 minutes left the Celtics changed formation and went on the all-out attack and managed to force a penalty shootout through a goal mouth scramble finished by man of the match Liam O’Connel followed by a late bottom corner free kick.
On to Penalties and with Kozo converting the first spot kick Richie Lenehan immediately put the Celtics under pressure by ballooning the ball over the top left corner. The Celtics were granted a second chance as Dom Lytwyn, Paul Fogarty, Tommy all converted while Kozo missed two. Alan Kelly took the ball and walk silently up to the spot with pure focus before rattling the ball off the crossbar. To sudden death and with the next Kozo penalty missing the target new signing Daryl was given the opportunity for glory. However he emulated his child hood hero David Batty by launching the ball a couple of feet off the bar.
The long intimidating figure of Paul Fogarty in goals must have influenced the Kozo penalty takers as yet another penalty struck the post granting the Celtics a 3rd chance to steal the match. Up stepped Mr. McSweeney with a plan to put the ball into the bottom left corner he rifled it into the righthand side of the goal sending the Celtics players into ecstasy.
A cruel end to Kozos cup dream who were more than gracious in defeat after the match. It was a great game of football which either side could have one however this time fortune favoured the Celtics in what was an emotional rollercoaster of a penalty shootout.