Celtic have been knocked out of the Champions League within the third qualifying spherical after a 4-Three residence defeat to Cluj noticed them lose 5-Four on combination.
The Romanian champions put Celtic’s backline below intense strain early on, and Ciprian Deac’s glancing header gave Dan Petrescu’s staff a deserved lead.
After being sloppy within the first half, Celtic had been scintillating after the break as they turned the tie on its head inside 15 minutes. James Forrest and Odsonne Edouard each produced stylish finishes to place Celtic in entrance.
Scott Brown’s weird handball then gifted Cluj a penalty which was transformed by Billel Omrani, however Ryan Christie restored Celtic’s lead with 13 minutes left.
Nonetheless, Omrani equalised once more with an incredible end, after Scott Bain’s parry fell kindly to him within the field, earlier than George Tucudean clipped residence the winner on the night time within the sixth minute of stoppage time, prompting boos from the house help.
Celtic now drop into the Europa League play-off, the place they’ll face Sheriff Tiraspol of Moldova or AIK of Sweden. It is the second successive season the Scottish champions have fallen at this stage, after final 12 months’s defeat to AEK Athens. The frustration this time is that they’d the tie properly below management within the second half, solely to let their lead slip not as soon as, however twice with some poor defending taking part in a component.
Having spent over £10m on three defenders in the course of the summer time, Lennon left two of them on the bench. Left-back Boli Bolingoli, who endured a torrid night within the first leg in Transylvania, was dropped, with Callum McGregor slotting into the defence. Christopher Jullien was additionally among the many substitutes, as Jozo Simunovic and Kris Ajer began at centre-back.
Petrescu had rested his first-choice XI on the weekend, and the recalled staff began quick, understanding they needed to rating to face an opportunity within the tie. Camora examined Bain with an early snap shot, earlier than the Cluj bench had been then off their toes in outrage searching for a penalty, as McGregor challenged Deac on the again publish – however the Latvian referee was unmoved.
As within the first leg, play was stretched, with the house staff taking part in just about on the counter-attack as Cluj pressed excessive on their defenders. Once they bought behind the press, Forrest and Michael Johnston had loads of room to run from deep, and it was Johnston who had Celtic’s first actual likelihood, firing a shot huge from the sting of the field after 25 minutes.
Sixty seconds later, Cluj silenced Celtic Park, as Deac jumped above McGregor to flick a header in off the far publish, placing the Romanian champions forward within the tie. On the steadiness of play, it was a deserved lead, with Celtic unable to get a grip on proceedings.
Christie appeared more than likely to encourage, however his cross was flicked over by Edouard, who ought to have performed higher eight yards out. Forrest then weaved his well past a bunch of defenders, however the angle was tight as he dragged his shot into the side-netting. It was uninspired stuff from the Scottish champions, as Cluj reached half-time with goalkeeper Giedrius Arlauskis not needing to make a save.
Inside a minute of the restart, Arlauskis was referred to as upon twice, punching clear Ajer’s header earlier than getting down low to palm Simunovic’s effort away. Celtic had upped the tempo, they usually quickly bought their reward.
As soon as once more it was Forrest who struck, after he had scored the equaliser within the first leg. McGregor’s cross was dummied by Edouard, permitting the winger time to coolly step contained in the left-back, earlier than he hammered the ball into the highest nook with the surface of his proper foot.
The tie was now on a knife-edge, with each groups leaving themselves open. Edouard slammed Christie’s cross huge when properly positioned; Cluj then surged ahead and Bain was pressured to dam Omrani’s shot – yet another purpose for the guests would depart Celtic requiring three to win.
Because the decibel stage rose, Edouard broke the tie open, guiding the ball into the far nook after Elhamed’s cross was missed by Burca. Cluj had been tiring, and Christie practically made it 3-1 with a strong drive that flashed simply huge. The Romanians gave the impression to be on the ropes, however then Brown’s handball gave them a route again into the tie on 72 minutes.
The Celtic captain needlessly caught a hand within the air on the again publish to deflect a ball away from Rondon, when it was onerous to see how the striker would have managed the ball. Omrani’s run-up took an age, however his end was low below Bain’s proper hand.
The ambiance was flat as soon as extra, however Christie raised the roof once more as he tapped in Edouard’s cross, after the striker had slalomed by way of the Cluj defence.
Nonetheless, Celtic had been caught huge open on the again as soon as extra as Omrani slammed residence on the angle, after Bain parried Paun’s shot away. Celtic could not muster an opportunity throughout six minutes of stoppage time, and Cluj had the ultimate say – and the win on the night time – as Tucudean chipped Bain. Because the travelling help celebrated wildly, Celtic had been jeered from the pitch, their hopes of competing towards Europe’s elite dashed for one more 12 months.
Lennon: Solely ourselves in charge
Celtic supervisor Neil Lennon talking in his post-match press convention: “All of us needed Champions League soccer. We have solely bought ourselves in charge for not doing that. We have been unfastened and switched off on the essential moments of the sport.
“The gamers are bitterly disillusioned. They’ve all missed out on an excellent alternative, all of us have. We’re all collectively accountable.
“We had enough quality out there to win both ties. We had good chances and didn’t take them, they would have put the game beyond Cluj.”
Hartson: Celtic took eye off ball
Former Celtic striker John Hartson talking on The Debate: “It is a poor, poor night time for Celtic. They had been a lacklustre, took their eye off the ball, did not pay Cluj sufficient respect and thought the job was performed.
“It is a sport Celtic ought to have put to mattress after getting the away purpose final week, however they allowed Cluj to come back again into the sport. Typically, at residence, Celtic are very robust, however they took the opposition as a right, conceded 4 targets and it is value them.”
Soccer Saturday Tremendous 6 is Again
FREE TO PLAY: £2m jackpot if £2m Gamers Enter