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Celtic 1-1 Udinese: Neil Lennon’s side denied victory as late Abdi penalty snatches point for Serie A sqaud

Celtic drew 1-1 against Udinese on Thursday after a controversial late Almen Abdi spot kick ruled out Ki Sung-Yueng second-minute penalty, leaving the Serie A outfit still looking for its first win of this season's Europa League campaign,

Celtic started lively and was awarded a penalty in just the second minute of the game following a clash between its main man Hooper and Joel Ekstrand. The Englishman collected the ball from the right before turning the Udinese defender who clipped his leg.

After momentarily pausing, the Turkish referee Bulent Yildirim pointed to the spot.

South Korean Ki Sung-Yeung confidently stepped up to smash the spot kick towards the right of Samir Handonovic to hand the home side the early advantage. The Italian side looked like a team which had made eight changes - including leaving top-scorer Antonio Di Natale at home.

Celtic continue to force the visitors back with crisp passing and quick closing down, with the Italian side struggling to keep track of Adam Matthews and James Forrest down the Scottish squad's right-hand side. Upfront Mohamed Bangura proved a livewire for the Udinese backline after being handed his first start by Neil Lennon.

Udinese almost got back into the game out of the blue midway through the half. Christian Battocchio whipped in a dangerous looking free kick which Lukasz Zaluska did well to hold with players looking for a timely flick.

The Scottish giants almost added a second in the 30th minute. Clever play by Forrest down the right resulted in the winger playing a smart ball to Hooper, who turned well before unleashing a stinging 20-yard shot which Handonovic did well to parry to safety.

Udinese began the second period in a more positive fashion but it was its opponents who created the first chance of the half. Charlie Mulgrew bent a fantastic free kick from 25 yards, which forced Handanovic into his second diving save of the game.

The visitors thought they had clawed their way back into the match in the 63rd match when Benatia got on the end of a smartly worked free kick from Battocchio. However, his effort was ruled out after Hooper was fouled inside the penalty area in the lead up to the attempt.

The away side sensed a nervousness in the Celtic backline continued to press for an equalizer but again Celtic created the next chance. A quick break led to the ball being played back to Ki who again worked Handanovic.

From the resulting attack Udinese stormed up the pitch and Mauricio Isla called Zaluska into a flying save. However, the club was handed the chance to draw level a minute later when Neuton fell weakly under a soft challenge by a Celtic defender inside the penalty area.

Abdi stepped up and sent Zaluska the wrong way, passing the ball to the left of the stoppers net.

The home side almost grabbed a late winner only for Mulgrew to again be stopped by man-of-the-match Handanovic in goal. Next up for the Neil Lennon’s men is a doubleheader against French side Rennes which will go someway to deciding whether or not they will progress to the knock-out stages.

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