Celtic sign off from Champions League with win over Feyenoord

Luis Palma and Guistav Lagerbielke scored in the 2-1 win at Celtic Park.

Celtic sign off from Champions League with win over Feyenoord SNS Group

Celtic finished their Champions League campaign with a 2-1 victory over Feyenoord in a dramatic final group game.

Luis Palma opened the scoring with a first half penalty but a late equaliser from Yankuba Minteh looked to have earned Feyenoord a point. Gustav Lagerbielke then scored an injury-time header to give Celtic the three points.

Celtic went into the game knowing that no matter the result, their European campaign would be coming to an end, with previous results guaranteeing they would finish bottom of the group.

Regardless, prize money, coefficient points and pride were at stake and the hosts put out their strongest possible team, though shorn of some key players through injury.

Mikey Johnston and then Callum McGregor both had shots blocked as Celtic looked to impose themselves but it was Kyogo, returning to the stating line-up, who had the first clear chance when his run on to a Liam Scales pass created an opportunity to shoot but Justin Bijlow was equal to the shot.

Celtic were forced into a change after just 20 minutes when Tomoki Iwata was injured and Paulo Bernardo called on to replace him. Moments after the change, Feyenoord thought they had the lead.

Prolific striker Santiago Gimenez raced through the centre after a slick passing move, rounded Joe Hart and slotting in a shot but Celtic were relieved to see that the offside flag had been raised.

The Mexican striker then stung Hart’s palms with a shot as Feyenoord stepped up a gear but the balance then swung firmly back in Celtic’s favour.

As Luis Palma stepped up to take a corner, referee Benoi Bastien warned Feyenoord midfielder Ramiz Zerrouki twice about holding on to his opponent. When Palma finally swung in a cross, Zerrouki hauled Liam Scales to the ground and Bastien instantly signalled a penalty. Palma stepped up and rifled the spot kick beyond Bijlow.

Feyenoord looked to bounce back instantly, with Gimenez having a shot blocked and Luka Ivanusec shooting wide. With two minutes to go they were inches away from a leveller.

Lutsharel Geertruida broke forward and found himself in a position to shoot but Hart got a touch to his effort and it came back off the inside of the post before being cleared.

Celtic came out in positive mood after the break and Palma nearly added a second three minutes after the restart but Bijlow’s outstretched leg deflected the ball wide when a goal seemed almost certain.

Feyenoord made a triple substitution and started to get on top but in a game where goalkeepers were proving decisive, Hart was equal to their efforts.

Celtic introduced Oh and James Forrest for Kyogo and Johnston to freshen up the attack but then suffered another injury blow when Stephen Welsh, making his first appearance since August, was forced off and replaced with Gustav Lagerbielke. Teenager Mitchell Frame came on for Palma, who had come out of a challenge with a bloody nose.

Despite there being nothing to play for, Feyenoord looked increasingly frustrated and the later stages were broken up by numerous fouls but the visitors hadn’t given up on an equaliser. With eight minutes left on the clock, they found one.

A quick passing move saw the Dutch side attack down their right and Celtic’s defenders were drawn towards the ball, only for it to be played out to substitute Yankuba Minteh on the left and he fired a low shot past Hart.

Both sides pushed to find a winner in the final minutes, with Gimenez testing Hart and then McGregor hitting the bar with a powerful shot from outside the box.

Six minutes of added time were indicated and as they started, Celtic struck a final blow. A high ball into the box was controlled instantly by Matt O’Riley and her lifted a perfect ball to the back post that Lagerbielke nodded in.

Feyenoord had no reply and Celtic signed off on the group stage with a victory.

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