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Celtic leave it late to reach Champions League play-off

Two stoppage-time penalties saw Celtic edge past Astana 2-1 to reach the Champions League play-off round.

Leigh Griffiths nudged the Scottish champions ahead on the stroke of half-time, but after the outfit from Kazakhstan equalised, Moussa Dembele’s first goal for the club – in the 92nd minute – was required to seal the tie 3-2 on aggregate.

Despite monopolising much of the possession, Celtic had to wait until stoppage time at the end of the first half to take the lead, when Kieran Tierney was fouled in the area.

Griffiths, the scorer in the 1-1 draw in the first leg, and the club’s leading goal-getter last term, stepped up and sent the goalkeeper the wrong way with a cool spot-kick.

But with half an hour remaining Astana offered a riposte, with Agim Ibraimi profiting from Craig Gordon’s poor clearance to draw the teams level on the night and in the tie.

Just as in the opening period, though, a penalty in the final moments handed Celtic the lead.

Dembele was the man fouled this time, converting the penalty himself to secure Brendan Rodgers’ side’s progression.

Elsewhere, there were surprise casualties in the third round of qualifying, including Olympiacos, who were knocked out by Hapoel Be’er-Sheva.

Anderlecht also crashed out, beaten by Rostov, while Falcao netted again for Monaco to help eliminate Fenerbahce.

Wed 3 Aug, 2016
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