Celtic hit late winner to beat Gamba Osaka in Japan tour finale

Celtic took on the J-League side in the final game of their Japan tour.

Late goal for Bernabei as Celtic beat Gamba Osaka in Japan tour finale SNS Group

Celtic have won the final game of their Japan tour thanks to a late goal in Osaka.

Argentinian full-back Alex Bernabei fired home the only goal of the game as J-League side Gamba Osaka were defeated 1-0 on Saturday.

After ten goals in their opening game when they were defeated 6-4 in Yokohama this game couldn’t have been any more different as it remained goalless until the final five minutes.

There was plenty of chances for both sides as Celtic dominated the first-half and the home side had the best of the second.

But the goal came from an unlikely source as Bernabei showed incredible persistence to chase down a lost cause on the left hand side and snatch the winner with his second goal for the club.

New signing Odin Thiago Holm was handed his debut in the second half as Brendan Rodgers made 11 changes at the break.

Celtic had the best of the possession and real chances throughout the first-half but were unable to break down the Gamba Osaka defence and Japan international goalkeeper Kosei Tani.

Daizen Maeda scored a first-half hat-trick when he was played through the middle against Yokohama Marinos and he retained the position with Kyogo and Oh both on the bench to start with.

And he had Celtic ahead early in the game but his effort was ruled out for offside in a decision that shown to be wrong after replays were shown.

The Japan international also hit the bar in a busy first-half in humid conditions as the Hoops had the best of a goalless opening first 45 with Callum McGregor, James Forrest and Tomoki Iwata all coming close.

As well as Maeda, there were many impressive performances for Brendan Rodgers, in particular fringe men Forrest and David Turnbull, so early in pre-season and in difficult conditions.

Gamba Osaka also had a goal wrongly ruled out for offside at the end of the first-half as a second linesman evened it up after his colleague’s earlier mistake.

As expected Rodgers changed the full team at half-time with the likes of Kyogo, who was handed the captain’s armband, Oh, Matt O’Riley and Haksabanovic introduced to the action including a debut for new signing Odin Thiago Holm.

Youngsters Rocca Vata, Bosun Lawal and Ben McPherson were also handed 45 minutes to show the manager what they can do.

The first real chance of the second half fell to Oh when O’Riley seemed to have put it on a plate from close range but the South Korean was unable to get full connection with the ball and sliced it wide.

Kyogo then came close with a speculative effort that was well saved by Japan international goalkeeper Kosei Tani.

Celtic keeper Ben Siegrist, who replaced Joe Hart at half-time, was then called into action and made an incredible double save to keep the score at 0-0.

Osaka came closest again with ten minutes remaining on the clock but the close-range volley came back off the inside of the post as the dominated the final stages.

But Celtic snatched the winner through Bernabei on the 85th minute to end their Asian journey with a victory.

They play Wolves in Dublin next before returning to Parkhead to take Athletic Bilbao in a testimonial match for veteran winger James Forrest.

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