Kyogo Furuhashi scored a well-taken brace to help Celtic beat Rangers and retain the Scottish League Cup title at Hampden Park on Sunday afternoon.
The Japanese forward scored two close-range finishes on either side of half-time to secure the win. Incidentally, the 28-year-old also scored a double in last year’s final against Hibernian.
Tense start to the game
It was a tight affair from the start, with both sides trying to assert control in the middle of the park and neither gaining any clear momentum.
Rangers had the first clear-cut opportunity in the game just past the 30-minute mark when Malik Tillman met Ryan Kent’s cross, but the 20-year-old’s effort was crucially blocked.
Celtic open the scoring
Furuhashi had two half chances as Celtic mounted the pressure on their opponents with relentless attacks down the wings. First, he slashed just wide from 18 yards in the 41st minute and then headed over just seconds later.
The striker made amends two minutes later when he tapped in from Greg Taylor’s fine cross. None of the Rangers’ defenders picked up Furuhashi, who made no mistake in giving his side a 1-0 lead.
It was Rangers, however, who came out the better of the two sides as Kent drilled his shot against the post, but Fashion Sakala could only hit the side netting from the rebound.
They were made to pay just six minutes later when Furuhashi once again prodded home from almost the identical spot as his first goal to double his side’s lead in the afternoon.
Rangers, however, didn’t let his heads drop, and they pulled a goal back in the 63rd minute when Alfredo Morales finished from close range following a floated free kick from the left wing.
Buoyed by their goal, Rangers played with passion, but attacking changes from the bench couldn’t muster any chances to put pressure on Joe Hart in the opposition goal.
Celtic had two glorious opportunities to kill the game late on, but that wouldn’t ultimately matter as they held on to secure another title.
Celtic captain Callum McGregor said on the victory, “It means the world to me. Time after time, you’re tasked to win at this club. This is a special group. We can do both sides of the game. Listen to this place. It’s rocking.”
Photo credit: IMAGO / PA Images
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