The European Cup has reached the semi-finals and Celtic made their first appearance at this stage of the competition. They were drawn away at Romanian side Dinamo Bucharest in what would be a difficult single-leg tie, at an intimidating stadium.
Dinamo had already knocked out Celtic’s Scottish rivals Glasgow Rangers in the 1st Round, before causing a huge upset when they defeated Bayern Munich in the quarter-finals.
The match began with both sides looking nervous, neither wanting to give away an early goal. Dinamo took the initiative and pressed forward, leaving themselves exposed in defence. The Celtic goalkeeper made some incredible saves to keep them in the tie.
Celtic began to fight back on the counter and once again it was the goalkeepers who were keeping their sides in the game as the Dinamo keeper matched the performance of his rival. Despite some good chances, after fulltime the score remained 0-0.
In extra time, Celtic were first to find a way through, as they took a 1-0 lead after a lazy Dinamo defender gave away a free kick.
Dinamo pressed forward to find an equaliser, but Celtic put 11 men behind the ball and defended for their lives. With extra time expired, the referee was allowing a few seconds of injury time when Dinamo won a corner. This would be their final chance of the match.
The corner found a Dinamo forward and the nearest Celtic defender, in their haste, missed the vital interception. The Dinamo player took their shot and incredibly he got it on target and it went into the corner. Celtic’s hearts sunk as the whistle blew immediately, with the score 1-1. They were seconds away from an historic win, but now it would go to a penalty shoot-out.
Dinamo went first and scored, followed by Celtic. The score was 3-2 when Celtic stepped up to take their third penalty and missed. Dinamo scored again to make it 4-3 and Celtic now had to score to stay in the competition. Sadly, the player missed giving the result to an ecstatic Dinamo side, who had been close to going out themselves.
Dinamo Bucharest will appear in their first European Cup Final and will play the winners of either Inter Milan or Atletico Madrid.
Meanwhile, Celtic have a long journey back to Scotland to think about how close they came to a first European Cup Final.