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Hapless Celtic bow out of Champions League

06 Aug 2014 21:01:52

Hapless Celtic bow out of Champions League

Legia Warsaw handed Celtic a humbling 2-0 defeat in the second leg of their Champions League third round qualifier at Murrayfield to complete a resounding 6-1 aggregate win on Wednesday.

The Scottish giants, who trailed 4-1 from the first leg in Poland, had started the match hoping for a repeat of last season's feat when they secured the 3-0 home victory over Shakhter Karagandy they needed to qualify for the group stages of Europe's elite competition.

However, the Hoops, who were aiming for a third successive season in the Champions League group stages, never looked like turning the tie around and saw their hopes crushed in the 36th minute when MichalZyro raced in on goal to fire Legia in front.

Michael Kucharczyk then took advantage of some slack Celtic defending to add to the Parkhead club's misery in the 61st minute and send his side into the Champions League play-off stage while Celtic drop into the play-off round for the Europa League.

Legia named the same starting 11 that had humbled the Scottish champions in Poland last week while Ronny Delia made three changes to his side with Nir Biton, a bit-part player under predecessor Neil Lennon, handed a place in midfield and Anthony Stokes preferred to Teemu Pukki as Celtic chased the three goals they needed to progress.

With such a healthy advantage from the first leg the Legia Warsaw players were content to allow Celtic plenty of possession in the opening 10 minutes until they were presented with the first real opportunity of the match.

A poor defensive clearance only went as far as Ivica Vrdoljak but the midfielder, who missed two penalties in the first leg, sent his effort straight at Forster. Broz was next to try his luck from range but his shot lacked power and was easily smothered by the English keeper.

Adam Matthews, guilty of some slack passing in his own half, tried to make a positive impact at the other end when he raced into the Legia box but his cutback somehow evaded four teammates before the danger was cleared.

Any lingering hopes Celtic had of pulling off a shock comeback in the tie were brutally ended by Zyro's clinical goal.

A simple ball over the top caused panic in the Celtic defence and Zyro, who had tormented the Scottish champions in the first leg, brushed past Izaguirre to drill a shot in to the bottom left-hand corner.

Delia replaced defender Mikel Lustig with Scottish striker Leigh Griffiths shortly after the break as he desperately sought a way back into the match.

However, things were to get worse for Celtic on the hour mark when some slack defending allowed Kucharczyk to double Legia's advantage.

The Polish player waltzed through the Celtic defence before rounding Forster and firing the ball into the net, much to the dismay of the home support.


AFP

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