Celtic 0-1 Anderlecht: Scottish champions limp into Europa League
By Jack Wilkinson
Last Updated: 06/12/17 7:25am
Celtic's Champions League campaign ended with a whimper but their 1-0 defeat to Anderlecht was enough to see them qualify for the Europa League.
The Scottish champions needed to avoid a three-goal defeat in their final Group B match to secure European football into the New Year, but Jozo Simunovic's 62nd-minute own goal threatened to derail their hopes.
However, despite a positive display, Anderlecht were unable to find the two extra goals they needed to qualify at Celtic's expense as the Hoops progressed despite slipping to a fifth defeat of the campaign.
Celtic: Gordon (7), Lustig (6), Boyata (5), Simunovic (5), Tierney (6), Brown (6), McGregor (5), Forrest (6), Armstrong (5), Sinclair (5), Dembele (6).
Subs: Rogic (5), Ntcham (7), Edouard (6).
Anderlecht: Boeckx (7), Appiah (7), Spajic (6), Kara (6), Obradovic (6), Dendoncker (6), Kums (6), Trebel (7), Gerkens (7), Hanni (8), Onyekuru (7).
Subs: Sa (5), Bruno (5), Teodorczyk (5).
Man of the Match: Sofiane Hanni.
Celtic's task appeared a simple one ahead of kick-off but Anderlecht were in no mood to roll over as Craig Gordon was called into action to deny Sven Kums from opening the scoring with just two minutes on the clock.
Anderlecht had lost their previous five group matches but played with freedom and expression as Adrien Trebel's acrobatic volley drew another save from Gordon on 17 minutes.
Camped inside their half and unable to retain possession, Celtic failed to register a single attempt on target in a jittery first period. Anderlecht, meanwhile, registered their third on 28 minutes as Trebel's swerving long-range strike was fielded by Gordon.
Brendan Rodgers brought on Tom Rogic and Olivier Ntcham at the break and the substitutes made an immediate impact as Celtic produced an improved second-half performance.
Ntcham was at the heart of the hosts' revival, carrying the ball from deep as questions were finally asked of the Anderlecht defence.
But, with a touch of fortune, Anderlecht grabbed a lifeline after the hour as Pieter Gerkens' glancing header deflected off Simunovic and into the back of the net via the post.
Brendan Rodgers made five changes from Saturday’s win over Motherwell as Moussa Dembele, Callum McGregor, James Forrest, Stuart Armstrong and Jozo Simunovic were recalled at Parkhead.
An onslaught from the visitors threatened to ensue but Celtic, bolstered by the addition of Odsonne Edouard, stood firm to clinch qualification against an Anderlecht side who seemed content to end their campaign with a maiden victory.
- Celtic are on a run of seven Champions League home matches without a win (D1 L6) - their worst run in the competition at Celtic Park.
- Celtic have failed to keep a clean sheet in their last 12 Champions League home games.
- Anderlecht have kept a clean sheet in all of their previous eight victories in the competition.
- Celtic have conceded 18 goals from their six Champions League matches this campaign, the most number of goals they have conceded in a group stage with the competition in its current format (previously 16 in 2016/17).
Man of the Match - Sofiane Hanni
Anderlecht needed to cause an upset to end all upsets to qualify for the Europa League at Celtic's expense, and their captain's display, particularly in the first half, threatened to do just that. The Algeria international was alert and dangerous in the final third as Celtic failed to come of the blocks. In the end it was a disappointing night for Anderlecht as their season in Europe came to an end, but Hanni salvaged from pride from guiding his side to their first away win in the Champions League since December 2005.
Fresh from securing European football into the New Year, Celtic look to extend their record 67-game unbeaten domestic run when they travel to Hibernian on Sunday, live on Sky Sports Football.