Feyenoord's Triumphant Return: 2-0 Victory Over Nine-Man Celtic
Feyenoord made a triumphant return to the Champions League group stage after a five-year absence, securing a convincing 2-0 victory against a nine-man Celtic team on Tuesday in their Group E opener.
The breakthrough in this closely contested encounter arrived just before halftime when Calvin Stengs found the back of the net. Alireza Jahanbakhsh added a second goal for Feyenoord in the 76th minute, sealing their victory. However, Celtic's challenges escalated when they had two players sent off within a five-minute span during the second half.
The first dismissal came in the 63rd minute when Gustaf Lagerbielke received his second yellow card for elbowing Igor Paixao in the face. This also resulted in a penalty for Feyenoord, but goalkeeper Joe Hart made a remarkable diving save to deny Paixao from the spot.
Celtic's difficulties worsened when Odin Thiago Holm received a straight red card in the 68th minute for a challenge on Mats Wieffer. Remarkably, Holm had only been on the field for a mere 10 minutes before his dismissal. This rare double red card situation put Celtic, who had previously received only two red cards in their last 72 Champions League matches combined, at a significant disadvantage.
Calvin Stengs had earlier opened the scoring with a beautifully executed curling free kick, setting the tone for Feyenoord's strong performance. Alireza Jahanbakhsh extended their lead shortly after coming onto the pitch.
Feyenoord could have widened their margin of victory even further, as they missed the opportunity to capitalize on the penalty and had two goals disallowed by VAR due to tight offside calls.
For Celtic, this defeat maintained their unfortunate streak of never winning the opening match of a group stage campaign in the Champions League.