A bright Saturday afternoon at Lidu was the scene of a tough to take loss for the Celtic A team against Kozo. The curse of the long break struck again as it was 3 weeks since the Celtic last played a competitive game, and they carried on their struggle to get points after long absences. It almost makes you think boozy trips to Shanghai and endless bottles of fireball in Paddys are not the best way to spend a break from football.
The Japanese team had an awfully Chinese feel to it as Kozo have basically been taken over by a semi pro Chinese team run by some little mafia gremlin. Their fantastic technique and amazing movement was unfortunately accompanied by temper tantrums, subs and management invading the pitch looking for a fight and specifically targeting Celtic players to injure. But, every Celtic player under-performed and the loss was deserved.
The first half saw the movement of Kozo being too much for Celtic to handle, the Kozo first goal coming after 20 minutes through a lovely move, pass and finish. The second followed just before half time from a whipped in cross from the edge of the area being flicked home by a Kozo man.
But the half time introduction of Italian stallion Marco brought some much-needed fight and spirit to the team, and Celtic were on top at the start of the half and had a lifeline when the usually reliable Dom Lytwyn stepped up to take a penalty. However, the penalty was dragged wide of the left post to make it two misses from two. And with Alan Kelly making drunken claims of penalties dispatched in his youth later that evening, it could be the end of the former penalty king!
After that Celtic missed a host of other chances and were inevitably punished on the counter, with a cracking finish making it 3-0. But then Kozo decided to kick everything and everyone in sight and had 2 men sent off either side of a comeback Dom Lytwyn Celtic goal. More Celtic pressure came but the goals wouldn’t come and the game ended a disappointing 3-1.
The Celtic boys now face the South Americans of Anejo fc on Saturday and will hope to get their season back on track!