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Molde 3 Celtic 1: Elyounoussi shines in surprise victory

Mohamed Elyounoussi inspired Molde to a 3-1 home win over Celtic in Thursday's Europa League encounter by netting a goal and providing an assist on head coach Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's successful return.

Scottish champions Celtic looked dangerous early on at Aker Stadion, yet found themselves trailing by two goals within 18 minutes.

Ola Kamara opened the scoring after a superb pass from Elyounoussi before Vegard Forren doubled Molde's advantage with a left-footed volley.

Kris Commons pulled one back for Celtic after the interval after capitalising on a wayward defensive clearance, but Elyounoussi restored his side's two-goal lead within 60 seconds.

To compound matters further for Celtic, Commons seemingly reacted angrily to being substituted in the latter stages and appeared to have an angry verbal exchange with members of the club's coaching staff as he took his place on the bench.   

Victory for Molde, meanwhile, leaves Solskjaer's men clear atop of Group A with seven points from three games, while Celtic are bottom with just two points.

Celtic started the game superbly and created their first noteworthy chance after just three minutes when Stuart Armstrong set up Leigh Griffiths with a fine low cross from the right, yet the attacker had his shot blocked before the Molde defence cleared it into safety.  

Sloppy play from Dedryck Boyata then led to the opening goal for Molde in the 11th minute. Elyounoussi took advantage after the Belgian defender lost possession to set up Kamara with a fine pass and he found the net with a cool finish in the near corner.  

Armstrong continued to trouble the Molde backline early on and tried his luck from the edge of the area after 17 minutes, but the former Dundee United man blasted his shot over.  

The hosts doubled their lead just one minute later. Martin Linnes went past his marker down the left before sending in a dangerous cross toward the far post and Forren volleyed home.

Elyounoussi came close to making it 3-0 in the dying minutes of the first half after a good run down the wing as his left-footed cross nearly surprised Craig Gordon, but the Celtic goalkeeper reacted in time to palm it over for a corner.

Forren could have doubled his tally for the evening just after the break following a good corner, but the defender did not get enough on it to direct his header in.

Celtic were briefly gifted a way back into the game in the 55th minute after poor defending from the hosts in Solskjaer's first match back in charge of the club. Linnes gave up possession to Commons and the forward found the net with a sublime finish.

Molde immediately restored their two-goal lead, though. Mattias Mostrom found Elyounoussi after a good team move and the 21-year-old fired home through Gordon's legs.

Kamara fired wide before Bitton came close to making it 3-2 in the 88th minute, only to see his powerful long-range strike hit the crossbar before going out of play.