Celtic have crashed out of the Champions League after conceding four times to CFR Cluj of Romania in a frantic game in Glasgow.
Neil Lennon’s aspect had been 2-1 on the attend of on aggregate at half-time thanks to Cirpian Deac’s header, but regarded to have grew to changed into the tie round with targets from James Forrest and Odsonne Edouard.
Billel Omrani’s penalty gave Cluj the lead on away targets with 16 minutes left, and even supposing Ryan Christie forced the hosts in front, Omrani and George Tucudean struck to seal Celtic’s destiny.
It device the Scottish champions now plunge into the Europa League play-off round, where they’ll play Moldovans Sheriff Tiraspol or Swedish aspect AIK, with the latter having won 2-1 away last week.
Celtic reached the last 32 of that competitors last season, having been knocked out on the same stage of the Champions League by AEK Athens.
‘Cluj exploited Celtic and grew amid chaos’
An abject night started with a vary by Lennon that had a pair of amongst the dwelling serve a tad perplexed. Callum McGregor, indubitably one of his most dynamic midfielders, used to be picked at left-attend.
Lennon stated that he significant as many “technicians” in his team as doable. What he significant used to be extra resistance, extra nous, extra defensive self-discipline. Lennon significant McGregor and Olivier Ntcham on the subject and the technique to stop it used to be to map conclude the Scot in defence, he stated. In spite of all the pieces the diversified thought is that his trust in his first-selection left-attend, Boli Bolingoli, is now now not exactly total.
No subject the reason, McGregor played on the attend and Celtic struggled their device through a temperamental opening half.
Cluj arrived with intent, physicality and tempo up front. They pressed Celtic laborious and immediate and regarded uncertain on the counter-attack. When the warmth came on them later on, they delivered mountainous-time. A raucous stadium didn’t create them bat an eyelid. They grew amid the chaos. They exploited Celtic and the total acres of status they afforded them.
The aim that brought collective palpitations to Celtic Park came objective sooner than the half-hour.
From an innocuous narrate, a throw-in on the left touchline, Cluj engineered the opener with an awful lot of support from their hosts. Omrani went up the hover, away from Scott Brown, and swung in a notorious that will must always were dealt with comfortably. As an different, McGregor let Deac get all through him and the Romanian outjumped him and saw his header creep in off Scott Bain’s left-hand put up.
Because it stood, Celtic had been out of the Champions League, a destiny that brought a mixture of scare and anger to the stadium. Celtic regarded unsettled. Their supporters sounded excited, now now not (but) at their team as such but at Cluj’s Venezuelan striker Mario Rondon who, having already picked up a yellow card, then thundered into Kristoffer Ajer without sanction.
‘Nightmarish night of violent turbulence’
An spirited game finest modified into ever extra compelling. Celtic came attend out for the restart with unheard of extra urgency, Ajer’s header getting cleared off the road one minute, Jozo Simunovic’s header saved the next. The game used to be madcap. A big commence, toe-to-toe slugfest.
The equaliser used to be greeted love a prolonged misplaced son, McGregor blasting down the left sooner than squaring to Edouard, who dummied deftly and let it creep to Forrest. The winger used to be cool and medical. Celtic Park erupted.
They upped it from there, Hatem Elhamed’s notorious squeezing between the hapless Paulo Vinicius and Andonie Burca to Edouard, who put Celtic in front. Right over an hour had long past and Celtic drove on to get one more. Christie lashed one large as the dwelling team regarded to be atmosphere flee for the Champions League play-off round.
The violent turbulence of the night began to kick in. From a nook, the ball carried to the attend put up and Scott Brown handled. Penalty. The silence that descended on the narrate used to be something else. Omrani stood up and lashed it past Bain to create it 2-2. As soon as all but again, Celtic had been going out.
Nonetheless, no. Two minutes later it switched all but again when Edouard burst through on the left aspect of the field and slipped it all through to Christie, arriving sooner than all others. Christie tapped it dwelling. On this crazy night, Celtic had been through all but again. After which they had been out all but again.
Cluj had been love a prizefighter, on the attend of on components but serene possessing the firepower for a knockout. Beneath the cosh for so prolonged, they broke out and Constantin Paun, below little stress, fired a shot on Bain’s purpose. The goalkeeper flung himself away to his upright and parried it, but when the ball broke free there wasn’t a Celtic man in take observe of. All of them had been posted lacking. The one player who used to be where he significant to be used to be Omrani, who lashed his shot excessive past Bain to create it Three-Three. Cluj had been going through. Celtic tried to assign themselves, but might possibly well well now not.
They had six added minutes nonetheless it finest got worse. As they tried to get a winner they conceded a loser, George Tucudean making it Four-Three with the game’s last kick.
A nightmarish night for Celtic. In actuality awful. It wasn’t speculated to be love this. A shot on the Europa League neighborhood stage is all that’s waiting for them now.
Man of the match – Billel Omrani
Omrani scored two and made one. Other than that, he used to be a menace along with his physicality and his tempo. Celtic’s defence struggled with him periodically and when the ball broke loose within the game’s pivotal 2d none of them had been wherever method him. He used to be the trusty man on the pitch alive to what used to be occurring.
Extra than somebody, Omrani used to be the one who did the ruin.