Everton prevailed over Celtic in a penalty shootout after the two teams had battled to an entertaining 0-0 draw. Playing in the Sydney Super Cup on a very hot afternoon, the Blues ceded possession to the Scottish Premiership league leaders, but both side were guilty of missing big chances to score.
Frank Lampard was already missing Jordan Pickford, Conor Coady, Idrissa Gueye and Amadou Onana for the World Cup which kicks off later today in Qatar, but was also minus Alex Iwobi and Seamus Coleman also on international duty and Tom Davies who returned to Merseyside after sustaining a knee injury during training in Australia.
A turnout of over 41,000 fans greeted the two sides at Accor Stadium with a solid percentage of those fans representing either the Blues or the Hoops. Celtic were straight away in control of the game and missed a couple of big chances to go into the break ahead, though the Toffees had arguably the best chance of the half when Neal Maupay got behind the defence and lifted the ball over the advancing Joe Hart, but put it agonizingly wide.
The second half was really more of the same as the festive atmosphere on a searing day put paid to any chances of this being a serious spectacle. Still Celtic pushed looking for that crucial goal and came up against either the woodwork or an inspired Asmir Begovic. There was even time for Maupay to round Hart but then put the ball into the side netting.
After Michael Keane had opened the scoring in the penalty shootout, Giorgios Giakoumakis put his spotkick well over the bar. Substitute Tom Cannon slotted to make it a two-goal advantage and Reo Hatate proceeded to hit the post after sending Begovic the wrong way. Nathan Patterson scored his but with the game on the line, Stanley Mills saw his attempt saved by Hart. After Celtic scored their fourth to make it 3-2, Anthony Gordon stepped up and drove home to finish the shootout.
It was an interesting workout for the Blues who were outplayed and mostly on the back-foot against a strong Celtic side while Lampard’s squad were minus a few regular starters. The 3-4-3 didn’t look bad and Everton certainly had more attacking thrust against the Scottish side than they have had against Premier League opposition in recent weeks.
The Blues are in action next on Wednesday morning British time when they take on Western Sydney Wanderers in the last game of their Aussie tour.