Footy Times

Celtic crash out of Champions League qualifiers


Celtic suffered their earliest Champions League exit in 15 years after falling to a shock 2-1 defeat to Ferencvaros in the second qualifying round at Glasgow.

Dávid Sigér put the Hungarian side ahead in the 7th minute and though Ryan Christie levelled after half time, Tokmac Nguen scored with 15 minutes left to stun Neil Lennon’s team.

There was a surprise before kick-off when Lennon named a side without a recognised striker. Odsonne Edouard was ruled out through injury and though Patryk Klimala and Albian Ajeti were on the bench, attacking midfielder Ryan Christie started at the point of the attack.

Ferencvaros started brightly and got quick reward. A corner wasn’t cleared properly by Celtic and Sigér collected the second ball before rifling in an angled shot from the edge of the box.

Celtic dominated possession as they searched for a leveller and created a handful of chances but couldn’t find the net before the break. They continued to press after the restart and got their reward after 54 minutes.

After a long spell of possession in the final third, the ball came to Christie and his shot from distance skidded off Adnan Kovacevic’s head and looped into the net.

Celtic pushed for a winner but were caught by a clearance that fell behind Hatem Abd Elhamed and into the path of Nguen. He raced clear of his marker and slotted it past Vasilis Barkas.

Lennon made changes, introducing Ajeti and Jeremie Frimpong but the home side couldn’t find a response as the clock ticked down.

Five minutes of added time weren’t enough and Ferencvaros celebrated inside an empty Celtic Park. The Scottish champions were left to rue missed opportunities and now go into Europa League qualifiying.

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