Leverkusen 3 – 2 Celtic

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Joy returned to despair for Celtic as two late goals secured Bayer Leverkusen a 3-2 victory in Germany and sentenced the visitors to an exit from the group stage of the Europa League.

With 10 minutes left, Celtic were on their way to a stunning shock victory thanks to a penalty kick from Josip Juranovic and Jota’s distinguished finish on both sides of the break until disaster struck them and they fell in the Europa Conference League.

First, Robert Andrich shot in his second of the night, after opening the scoring from a corner, to bring them leveled from Amine Adli’s break, before a fine 20-yard volley from Moussa Diaby turned the match on its head and brought the Celtics hope. of progression crashing down while sealing the top spot in the group for the hosts.

The Bhoys will still qualify for the Conference League knockout stages as they are guaranteed to finish over bottom side Ferencvaros, but they will now host Betis in fourteen days, knowing their Europa League campaign is set to end in the group stage, no matter what happens.

Celtic’s Europa League dream ended by Leverkusen

Robert Andrich (right) celebrates after scoring for Bayer Leverkusen vs Celtic

The Germans signaled their intent in the 10th minute when Andrich headed over from a Florian Wirtz corner.

Celtic looked reasonably comfortable in the early stages, although Cameron Carter-Vickers had to make a crucial clearing from his own six-yard box when former Hoops right-back Jeremie Frimpong drilled into the box and teased a dangerous low ball over the face. goal in the 12th minute.

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  • Celtic made a change to the side that defeated St Johnstone in last weekend’s semi-final of the Premier Sports Cup, with Hampden goal hero James Forrest coming in for his first start in more than three months in place of Liel Abada.

The visitors did not follow the warning from Leverkusen’s previous corner kick, and they came back in the 16th minute when Andrich came in front of Stephen Welsh to head in another Wirtz delivery.

Celtic had a rare lead forward in the 35th minute, resulting in David Turnbull stepping a through ball into the back of Kyogo Furuhashi, but the offside flag was hoisted as the Japanese striker burst into the box and fired a low-angle shot just behind the farthest post.

Josip Juranovic celebrates after scoring a penalty for Celtic vs Bayer Leverkusen
Josip Juranovic celebrates after scoring a penalty for Celtic vs Bayer Leverkusen

After a short tussle with the defender, Lukars Hradecky finally tucked the ball home. into the field from Jota.

Hradecky received a warning and Juranovic produced a monstrously careless finish as he hit a Panenka-style spot kick from under the crossbar.

Juranovic came close to extending the visitors’ lead when he found himself completely unmarked in front of the goal after a pass through the middle, but he lifted the ball over Wussz and it was a little too high and hit the bar. sent the riposte down towards the opposite post.

Celtic got another big break eight minutes after the break when Joe Hart made a brilliant double save to dismiss Diaby and then Amine Adli.

Jota drives off after complete Celtic's comeback with a brilliant counterattack
Jota runs off after scoring the Celtics’ second goal with an ingenious counter-attack

Remarkably, Celtic took the lead after 56 minutes, as a result of Jota’s awkward, but ultimately successful, shot from the right.

Hart made a couple of saves to repel Adli as the Scots began to believe they could be about to reach their first victory in Germany.

But Andrich broke their hopes in the 82nd minute when he drilled a low shot through the legs of Hart from 12 yards out after being set up by substitute Nadiem Amiri.

Robert Andrich brought the Leverkusen level eight minutes after time with his second of the night
Robert Andrich brought the Leverkusen level eight minutes after time with his second of the night

The hosts claimed victory in the 87th minute when Diaby volleyed home after being picked out of a chipped pass from Wirtz.

Leverkusen’s late show surprises Celtic – Match statistics

  • Bayer Leverkusen have never lost a home game in the UEFA Europa League group stage in 15 previous matches (W12 D3) – most of any team without losing in the history of the competition.
  • Celtic have scored more than 2 goals in each of their last four away games in the UEFA Europa League, but they have gone on to win only one of those matches (L3) and beat Ferencvárosi TC 3-2 at the start of the month.
  • Celtic have conceded at least once in 26 of their 28 UEFA Europa League matches away from home, and have closed in on each of their last 11 such matches in the competition since a 1-0 win at Rosenborg back in November 2018.
  • Florian Wirtz has been directly involved in ten goals in 13 UEFA Europa League matches for Bayer Leverkusen (5 goals, 5 assists).
  • Robert Andrich has scored three goals in his last three games for Bayer Leverkusen in all competitions, more than he scored in his first nine games for the club this season (2).
  • Celtic’s Josip Juranovic has had two assists in this season’s UEFA Europa League promotion, both penalty kicks he converted.

What’s next?

Celtic are at home against Aberdeen in the Scottish Premier League on Sunday; kick-off at 3 p.m.

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