MX23RW : Friday, October 19 16:18:53
Aug 8, 2018 at 7.45pm UK at ​Celtic Park
Celtic
1-1
AEK AthensAEK Athens
McGregor (17')
Ajer (49')
FT(HT: 1-1)
Klonaridis (44')
Klonaridis (14'), Galanopoulos (50'), Oikonomou (68')
Galanopoulos (57')

Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers confident of Champions League progress

Rodgers confident of CL progress
© Reuters
Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers is "a lot more confident" of progress to the playoff stage of the Champions League following their performance against AEK Athens.

Brendan Rodgers has claimed that Celtic are "a lot more confident" of progress to the playoff stage of the Champions League following their home performance against AEK Athens on Wednesday night.

The Hoops took the lead in the third qualifying round first leg through Callum McGregor on 17 minutes, but their good work was undone two minutes before the break when Victor Klonaridis fired in a breakaway equaliser.

The visitors were reduced to 10 men in the 57th minute when Konstantinos Galanopoulos picked up two yellow cards in quick succession, but Celtic could not get the winner against well-organised opponents as the game finished 1-1.

"If we had come in having not made the mistake for the goal and won 1-0, I would have been ecstatic with the performance at this stage of the season," Rodgers told Radio Scotland.

"It wasn't to be but the players were outstanding. I thought we really dominated that first period. We gave away a poor goal just before half time but it was just a case of staying calm and getting our game going again. We continued to dominate after they got the man sent off, and the only frustration was we didn't finish off some really good play.

"But I said to the players, we have nothing to fear. We put in a big performance and didn't quite get the result tonight, but it gives us a chance to go out there and get a result. It was always going to be difficult, whatever the result tonight. But after that performance, I think we feel a lot more confident we can do that."

The second leg takes place at the Athens Olympic Stadium on Tuesday, with the winners of the tie facing either Swedish side Malmo or Hungarian outfit MOL Vidi in the playoff round.

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Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers at the Scottish Cup final between Celtic and Motherwell on May 19, 2018
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Hearts8521125717
2Celtic8512134916
3Hibernian84311861215
4Livingston843185315
5RangersRangers84221881014
6Kilmarnock8422106414
7Aberdeen833297212
8St Johnstone8233616-109
9Hamilton AcademicalHamilton8215614-87
10Motherwell8134711-46
11St Mirren8125416-125
12Dundee8017316-131

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