Celtic crash out of Champions League at hands of AEK Athens

Sergio Cunningham
August 15, 2018

Brendan Rodgers has admitted that Celtic's defending was inadequate during the 2-1 loss to AEK Athens which spelt the end of the Glaswegians' Champions League journey.

Rodrigo Galo swept in a low cross from the right and Marko Livaja headed in the second for AEK before Scott Sinclair pulled one back for Celtic to set up a dramatic finish.

Celtic will now go into the Europa League, where they will face either Lithuania's Suduva or Spartaks Jurmala of Latvia.

AEK Athens and PAOK Thessaloniki gave Greek football fans plenty to cheer about as both clubs reached the Champions League playoff round and joined three former winners of Europe's elite club competition on Tuesday. He has been with us on the journey now for a couple of years and helped us get to this position and of course, someone of his quality, a World Cup semi-finalist in our team, would certainly would have helped.

Rodgers bemoaned some slack defending for their Champions League exit.

He said: "I think in general, in the game, we played very well but we conceded two soft goals".

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Quick-fire first-half goals by striker Klaas Jan Huntelaar and defender Matthijs de Ligt put Ajax firmly in control before David Neres added the icing on the cake with their third and final goal shortly after the break.

Lichtenstein also said: "Entering the last 10 months of his contract, everyone understands that he can not put his career at risk by playing even slightly injured or at 95 per cent. Dedryck can not put his future and his family's future in danger by playing without being 100 per cent".

"The exams proved I could not play against Hearts and, since then, I'm doing everything I can to be ready as quickly as possible".

"But yes, Dedryck would have been fit to play".

"But he wasn't here and we look at the performance without him and I can't think any more than that".

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