GLASGOW (AFP) - Celtic missed a penalty and the referee sent the wrong player off as ten-men Aalborg held on for a goalless draw in their opening Group E Champions League match Wednesday.
The Scottish champions, who missed a first-half penalty, were frustrated by the well-organised Danish side at Celtic Park.
Aalborg, managed by Scot Bruce Rioch, had the best of the opening exchanges before Barry Robson's poor penalty was saved by Karim Zaza.
And despite being reduced to ten-men late in the second-half when Michael Beauchamp was wrongly red-carded in a case of mistaken identity, Aalborg held on for a precious away point.
The draw means Celtic have yet to win an opening fixture in the Champions League in six attempts.
Gordon Strachan said his side were well below standard in the first-half.
"We didn't take the penalty and we didn't take the chances we made and then the game was a problem for us," said Strachan.
"We were below the standards we set ourselves in the first-half and then a good standard in the second-half in terms of chances and crosses.
"Looking at the second-half I think it was the most territorial advantage, crosses and attempts at goal we have had in any 45 minutes we have played in the Champions League."
Aalborg manager Rioch thought his side had been fantastic and confirmed his side would appeal Beauchamp's red card.
"You don't know for sure how your players are going to face not only the Celtic team, but the atmosphere," Rioch said.
"I felt confident they would enjoy the occasion. They were all involved in the game and I thought they were really superb.
"We are in the competition and have earned the right to be here and we are going to enjoy it."
Aalborg were presented with their first chance of the night when Robson fouled Andreas Johansson in the 14th minute. Michael Jakobsen took the resulting free-kick and his powerful curling effort from 25 yards flew just past Artur Boruc's post.
The Danes grew in confidence and should have taken the lead a minute later when Thomas Augustinussen played a ball over the top of the Celtic defence to Jeppe Curth who screwed his shot wide with only the keeper to beat.
Despite the Danes' dominance it was Celtic who had the best chance to take the lead when Shaun Maloney was tripped after turning Steve Olfers in the box in the 29th minute.
Robson took the spot-kick but his low drive down the middle came off Zaza's legs and the rebound was cleared.
Aalborg finished the half stronger with the Celtic defence doing well to clear a Marek Saganowski pass across the face of goal after he beat Scott Brown down the right wing.
Celtic started the second-half with the urgency they had lacked in the first period.
Only some last ditch defending stopped Nakamura landing his effort on target with Enevoldsen throwing himself in front of his volley after 48 minutes.
Celtic's Samaras went close after 50 minutes. Maloney expertly found the Greek striker in the box and after turning his marker Samaras sent his curling shot just inches wide of the post.
Brown thought he had put Celtic ahead in the 78th minute when he finished a neat one-two with Nakamura but the linesman had already flagged for offside. Aalborg were reduced to ten men with ten minutes remaining when Samaras was hauled down at the edge of the box by Jakobsen.
However, the referee handed a straight red to Michael Beauchamp and this sparked bizarre scenes with the player refusing to leave the pitch for several minutes.
Zaza pulled off a superb one-handed save from Nakamura's resulting free-kick and despite constant pressure the home side could not make their extra man advantage count and had to settle for a point.
|Coach: G. Strachan|
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