MX23RW : Wednesday, January 23 02:15:25
Aug 14, 2018 at 7pm UK at ​Olympic Stadium
AEK AthensAEK Athens
2-1
Celtic
Galo (6'), Livaja (50')
FT(HT: 1-0)
Sinclair (78')

Result: Celtic consigned to Europa League playoffs after AEK Athens defeat

Celtic drop into the Europa League playoffs after succumbing to a 3-2 aggregate defeat by AEK Athens in their Champions League third qualifying round tie.

Celtic have been consigned to the Europa League playoffs after succumbing to a 2-1 loss at the hands of AEK Athens at the Olympic Stadium for a 3-2 aggregate defeat in their Champions League third qualifying round tie.

Olivier Ntcham and Jozo Simunovic look dejected after the opposition's second during the Champions League qualifying game between AEK Athens and Celtic on August 14, 2018© Reuters

The Scottish Premiership champions took an early lead at Parkhead a week ago, before being pegged back by their visitors when Viktor Klanaridis netted just before half time.

Konstantinos Galanopoulos was sent off after the break, but the Hoops could not make the most of the opportunity, meaning that they had to score in the second leg because of AEK's away goal.

However, Celtic made a calamitous start when sloppy defending allowed Niklas Hult to reach the byline and cut back for Brito Rodrigo Galo to poke home from close range on six minutes.

From then on, Brendan Rodgers's charges grew into the game, Tom Rogic weighing in with a 12th-minute effort from outside the box which Vasilios Barkas was able to claim.

Rodrigo Galo celebrates giving the home side the lead during the Champions League qualifying game between AEK Athens and Celtic on August 14, 2018© Reuters

Leigh Griffiths, Callum McGregor and Jack Hendry also contributed dangerous efforts, but Celtic could not find an equaliser come the half-time whistle.

Just four minutes after the restart, the visitors conceded again through poor defending as Hendry was beaten to the ball and Marko Livaja, unmarked in the six-yard box, headed home.

However, with 12 minutes to go, Celtic gave themselves renewed hope of progress when Scott Sinclair connected with a header at the near post from McGregor's left-wing cross and found the back of the net.

Six minutes of injury time were announced at the end of the game but despite this, the Glasgow giants could not find an equaliser, which brought an end to their Champions League journey.

Brendan Rodgers watches on during the Champions League qualifying game between AEK Athens and Celtic on August 14, 2018© Reuters

Celtic will now face Spartaks Jurmala or Suduva in the Europa League playoffs, while AEK will play either Malmo or MOL Vidi in the Champions League playoffs.

AEK ATHENS (4-4-1-1): Barkas; Bakakis, Oikonomou, Lampropoulos, Hult; Galo (Albanis 82'), Saldanha, Simoes, Bakasetas (Cosic 90+1'); Livaja; Victor (Mantalos 73')

CELTIC (5-3-2): Gordon; Forrest, Lustig (Dembele 60'), Hendry, Simunovic, Tierney; McGregor, Brown, Ntcham; Griffiths, Rogic (Sinclair 76')

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Dedryck Boyata in action for Celtic in the Champions League on October 31, 2017
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Celtic20133446143242
2RangersRangers21126343162742
3Kilmarnock21125432201241
4Aberdeen21123634241039
5St Johnstone2010462524134
6Hearts2110472526-134
7Hibernian217953021930
8Livingston218672619730
9Motherwell2163122033-1321
10Hamilton AcademicalHamilton2142151443-2914
11St Mirren2133151539-2412
12Dundee2124151546-3110

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