Aussies Abroad: Rogic sends Celtic into Scottish Cup final
Caltex Socceroos midfielder Tom Rogic scored his first Celtic goal in more than five months to guide the Glasgow giants into the Scottish Cup final with a 3-0 win over nine-man Aberdeen.
The former Central Coast Mariners star was on the receiving end of a horror challenge by Aberdeen’s Lewis Ferguson – who was red-carded for his troubles – but nonchalantly rolled in Celtic’s third after the resulting free-kick hit the wall.
That 69th-minute strike in Sunday evening’s semi-final at Hampden Park sets up a cup-final date with Heart of Midlothian on May 25.
Rogic, 26, was making just his third appearance for Neil Lennon’s side since Boxing Day, after returning from knee surgery which had sidelined him for nearly three months. He had last found the net for The Hoops in a 5-0 league win over Dundee last October.
James Forrest and Odsonne Edouard also scored for Celtic, who need just two wins to seal an eighth consecutive Scottish Premiership title.
Although he did not join Rogic on the overnight score-sheet, forward Apostolos Giannou proved a real handful in AEK Larnaca’s 3-2 playoff win over AEL Limassol in the Cypriot First Division.
The Caltex Socceroos striker laid on Ivan Trichkovski’s opening strike with a nice piece of control and backheel, and came close to scoring twice in the second half during the club’s penultimate fixture.
Mathew Leckie completed a full match for Hertha Berlin for the first time since December 18 as the Bundesliga outfit fell 2-0 to Hoffenheim.
Nadiem Amiri and Arsenal loanee Reiss Nelson found the net to consign Leckie’s Berlin to their fifth consecutive defeat in Germany’s top flight.
There was no Eredivisie action for Trent Sainsbury and Aziz Behich, who remained on the bench as PSV Eindhoven moved level on points with Ajax thanks to a 2-1 come-from-behind win over De Graafschap.
Mark van Bommel’s men trail the UEFA Champions League quarter-finalists thanks to a goal difference that is inferior by 12.
Danny Vukovic and Genk notched a crucial victory over Club Brugge, defeating their title rivals 3-1 to open a four-point gap at the summit with six matches remaining in the Belgian championship round.
FC Midtjylland were also victorious in their championship playoff fixture, against Odense Boldklub, although Awer Mabil was not summoned from the substitutes' bench in the Danish Superliga club’s 2-0 triumph.
That win leaves The Wolves – who are destined for a Danish Cup final clash with Brondby on May 18 – five points adrift of leaders FC Copenhagen with seven playoff fixtures remaining.
James Jeggo was not involved in Austria Wien’s 1-1 stalemate at Wolfsberg in their playoff fixture, a result that keeps Wien bottom of their championship playoff table.
And in the J-League, forward Andrew Nabbout was introduced off the bench late as Brazilian midfielder Ewerton’s late strike handed Urawa Red Diamonds a 1-0 win over Gamba Osaka on Sunday.