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Celtic battle back to beat Sarajevo in Champions League qualifier

Celtic came from behind to beat Sarajevo in the first leg of their Champions League first qualifying round tie after the Scottish champions were stunned when Mirko Oremus opened the scoring following a corner.

However, Neil Lennon’s side were soon level when the 20-year-old Mikey Johnston thundered in an equaliser from 25 yards six minutes later.

The French striker Odsonne Édouard started his season with a classy finish in the 51st minute before the substitute Scott Sinclair, on for James Forrest, added a third with a cheeky one.

It was the first game of a potential four rounds of qualifying to make the group stages. The return game is at Parkhead next Wednesday, with the victors taking on the winners of the tie between the Estonian side Nomme Kalju and Shkendija of North Macedonia, who lead 1-0 after the first leg.

Lennon, however, insisted the tie is not over. He said: “To score three goals away from home, no matter the level or stage, at this stage of the season is very promising. I am absolutely delighted with the result and performance. It is so early in our preparation but the condition of the players, the quality of the goals in the game was great. It was a terrific team performance.”

On a sodden night Celtic were undone when a Slobodan Milanovic corner broke loose in the box and Oremus reacted quickly to slide it in from a few yards out in the 29th minute.

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However, Celtic showed their mettle. Ryan Christie had a decent free-kick saved by Vladan Kovacevic but the Sarajevo keeper had no chance when Johnston got the ball out from under his feet and hammered a drive high into the net. Six minutes into the second half it looked even better for Celtic when Édouard took a pass from James Forrest and moved into the box, leaving two defenders trailing before lifting the ball over Kovacevic.

The goal eased the nerves of the 300 or so travelling fans and Sinclair made entry into the next round a formality when he back-heeled home a cross from fellow substitute Lewis Morgan from six yards out.

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