Brendan Rodgers frustrated by Dedryck Boyata absence after Champions League exit

by Steven Clarke August 15, 2018, 1:57
Brendan Rodgers frustrated by Dedryck Boyata absence after Champions League exit

The Hoops travelled to the Greek capital with the third qualifying round tie evenly poised at 1-1 from the first leg, but found themselves two goals down after 50 minutes.

However, goals from Bito Rodrigo Galo and Marko Livaja either side of the break saw Celtic fail to book a spot against Malmo or MOL Vidi in a play-off to reach the group stages.

Knocked out: Tom Rogic and Celtic will not feature in the Champions League group stage.

AEK beat 1967 champions Celtic 2-1 in a fervent atmosphere in Athens for a 3-2 aggregate win over the Scottish side while PAOK held out for a 0-0 draw at Spartak Moscow after edging the Russian outfit 3-2 in the first leg.

Celtic defender Dedryck Boyata has denied he is refusing to play and instead insists he is injured.

"Unfortunately, I could not play because I'm not yet 100% operational", the 27-year-old said on Instagram.

"You could say they have the advantage, especially with the away goal but we, as a team, are more than capable of scoring an away goal ourselves".

Sutton said Ladbrokes Premiership champions Celtic had splashed out on expensive "disco lights" but failed to make the right kind of signings to bolster the squad bossed by Brendan Rodgers.

The 70,000-capacity stadium was only around half-full but the home fans roared when Niklas Hult, at the second attempt, got his cross pass fellow Swedish defender Mikael Lustig to Brazilian midfielder Galo, who swept it past keeper Craig Gordon from 12 yards.

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

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