Section: Celtic

Europa League: Celtic 1-3 FC Red Bull Salzburg

Celtic qualified for the knockout stage of the Europa League despite falling to defeat at home to Salzburg.

Salzburg’s win secured the Austrian’s top spot in Group D, with Alan scoring twice in the first-half and Naby Keita adding another late on.

Celtic’s riposte came from Stefan Johansen and they played more assuredly after the break, but they were undone by Salzburg’s initial zeal.

Astra defeat Dynamo Zagreb in Romania to ensure Celtic finished second.

Celtic were immediately swamped. If Ronny Deila had not been so grim-faced and concerned at the alarming lack of resistance amongst his own players, he would have admired Salzburg’s accomplishment.

The visitors were everything the Celtic manager would wish his own side could be: swift of thought and movement, incisive, quick and precise in their passing, and capable of winning the ball back effectively. The home side were overwhelmed.

Salzburg came into the game as the highest scorers in the competition and the effectiveness of their attack was clear.

There was an element of good fortune about the early goal. Massimo Bruno’s shot was deflected in an arc over the Celtic defence, with the ball dropping to Alan inside the area, with the striker prodding a volley into the net.

Martin Hinteregger’s header demanded a sharp save from Craig Gordon, but the visitors could not be contained.

Four minutes after opening the scoring, Alan added a second. He was a lithe, elusive figure up front, and the Celtic defenders were leaden footed in comparison.

When Andre Ramalho headed a corner on, Alan reacted first and converted from close range.

There was almost a third, when the impressive Jonathan Soriano swept in a free-kick, but as Gordon correctly realised the referee had awarded an indirect set piece.

With Salzburg playing a narrow formation, they could command the midfield, but that also left Celtic with hope on the flanks. It took 30 minutes for a foray to become meaningful, but when Emilio Izaguirre hurled in a cross from the left Johansen finished crisply and accurately.

The goal revived the Celtic support and brought renewed purpose to the home side. It was clear why Salzburg have such an impressive European record though, because they were unfazed. They kept their poise but also their sense of adventure, and one counter-attack took just three quick passes to cover the length of the field.

Celtic were more composed after the interval. They lacked a cutting edge, though, which prompted some fans to holler for James Forrest to be brought on. The sense was that if the game was to be rescued, Celtic needed to be more threatening.

There was a reminder, too, of the danger the visitors still carried. A break upfield saw Soriano and Bruno exchange passes, but the former finished weakly from the edge of the area, sending the ball trundling wide.

Salzburg were capable of a casual aplomb, but they could also be unnerved. Celtic came close when Leigh Griffiths saw a header from Izaguirre’s cross saved, but the equaliser wouldn’t come.

Instead, the substitute Keita added a third with a header after a Salzburg counter attack.

Read more at BBC Sport

Champions League: Celtic reinstated to Champions League after Legia Warsaw error

Celtic have been reinstated to the Champions League after Legia Warsaw were punished for fielding an ineligible player.

Legia won the third qualifying round tie 6-1 on aggregate but brought on Bartosz Bereszynski in the second leg, while he was supposed to be suspended.

As a result Celtic were handed a 3-0 ‘walkover’ win for the second leg, taking them through on away goals.

Celtic will play Maribor of Slovenia in the play-offs later this month.

And Legia Warsaw have been drawn to play Aktobe of Kazakhstan in the Europa League play-off.

“It is very strange, I have to say that,” said Celtic manager Ronny Deila, whose Norwegian countryman Henning Berg is in charge of Legia.

“First of all I feel very sorry for Legia, and my friends from Norway there. It is tough to think of that and now we are in the Champions League.

“Legia played well against us, they put in good performances but this is nothing to do with Celtic. It is about UEFA.

“It is not my business. It is a club thing and a UEFA thing.

“It is a tough decision and I really feel sorry for Legia but we have to go into the game and prepare for Maribor.

“The players want to play in the Champions League. It looks like we have been given another chance and I think it will be no problem to get the players up for the game.”

Legia have five days to appeal and have asked for Uefa’s reasoning.

The Polish champions, who now take Celtic’s place in the Europa League play-offs, won the first leg 4-1 and the second 2-0.

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Champions League: Arsenal face Besiktas

Arsenal will play Turkish side Besiktas in the Champions League play-off round, while Celtic face Slovenian champions Maribor after being reinstated.

The Gunners have appeared in the group stages of the Champions League in each of the past 14 seasons.

Celtic lost 6-1 to Legia Warsaw in qualifying, but the Polish champions fielded an ineligible player.

Scottish champions Celtic will play Maribor in a two-legged match with the winners advancing into the main Champions League group stage.

It is a second chance for the Bhoys after they lost 4-1 in the first leg of their third qualifying round tie in Poland, and 2-0 at home in the second leg on Wednesday.

Champions League play-off round

Maribor (Slovenia) v Celtic (Scotland)

Salzburg (Austria) v Malmo (Sweden)

Aalborg (Denmark) v Apoel Nicosia (Cyprus)

Steaua Bucharest (Romania) v Ludogorets (Bulgaria)

Slovan Bratislava (Slovakia) v BATE Borisov (Belarus)

Besiktas (Turkey) v Arsenal (England)

Standard Liege (Belgium) v Zenit St Petersburg (Russia)

FC Copenhagen (Denmark) v Bayer Leverkusen (Germany)

Lille (France) v Porto (Portugal)

Napoli (Italy) v Athletic Bilbao (Spain)

 

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Champions League: Legia Warsaw investigated by Uefa for fielding ‘ineligible’ player against Celtic

Legia Warsaw’s 6-1 aggregate victory over Celtic is under investigation after the Polish club allegedly fielded an ineligible player

Celtic could be handed a sensational Champions League reprieve after Uefa launched an investigation into the eligibility of one of Legia Warsaw’s players during their 6-1 aggregate win over the Scottish champions.

The Polish side confirmed that they had been asked for information from the European governing body.

A statement on Legia’s official website read: “The club announces that in connection with the Celtic FC-Legia Warsaw match in the second leg of the third qualifying round of the Champions League, Uefa opened an investigation into the participation of Bartosz Bereszynskiego.

“The club is preparing the relevant information and explanations, which will be sent to Uefa today.

“The result of the investigation will be announced immediately after its completion.”

Read More on The Guardian

 

Champions League: Celtic 2-1 Legia Warsaw

Celtic’s ambitions of a third successive Champions League campaign foundered as they crashed to a 2-0 defeat at Murrayfield.

They never looked like turning around the 4-1 first-leg deficit.

The Celtic defence seemed to part as Michal Zyro and Michal Kucharczyk sealed their fate.

It is a crushing blow for Ronny Deila, whose predecessor Neil Lennon guided the club into the last 16 two years ago and into the group stage last season.

Those two campaigns earned Celtic in the region of £33m in prize money alone.

While they still have a chance of a Europa League run, the absence of Champions League football is a massive financial blow, to say nothing of the prestige that comes with playing in Europe’s premier competition.

Read More on BBC Sport