Celtic qualify for Europa League despite narrow defeat by Anderlecht

Celtic clung on to book themselves a Europa League ticket despite Jozo Simunovic’s own goal handing Anderlecht a 1-0 win at Parkhead.

The Hoops knew all they had to do to avoid finishing bottom of Champions League Group B was prevent the Belgians winning by three clear goals.

And while Simunovic’s 62nd-minute mistake as he diverted Dennis Appiah’s cross past Craig Gordon raised the tension levels, Brendan Rodgers’ team held strong to ensure European action will be returning to Glasgow’s east end in the new year.

Tweet of the match

Former Hoops striker Chris Sutton (@chris_sutton73) breathed a sigh of relief as his old side did enough to see off their Brussels opponents.

Star man – Sofiane Hanni

Celtic qualify for Europa League despite narrow defeat by Anderlecht PLZ Soccer
Sofiane Hanni was outstanding for the visitors (Andrew Milligan/PA)

The Anderlecht skipper seemed to find space with effortless ease at times as he drifted in between Celtic’s defence and midfield. Had a couple more of his team-mates been on his wavelength the hosts may have found themselves in real trouble.

Moment of the match

Craig Gordon’s early save to deny Sven Kums just three minutes in may not have been the most spectacular stop but it was vital nonetheless. An early goal would have set the alarm bells ringing round Parkhead and left Celtic under the cosh from the start. But having survived that scare the Scottish champions gradually grabbed a foothold and held out for the result which sees them through in third place.

View from the stands

For much of the match there was not the usual electric buzz that you expect on a big European night at Celtic Park. The nervy display from the Hoops players did not help matters and that anxiety soon transferred into the stands. However, the introduction of Olivier Ntcham at half-time finally injected a bit of energy and belief into the Parkhead ranks and while Simunovic’s own goal hushed the crowd for a spell, there was no real cause for alarm as Anderlecht ran out of steam.

Player ratings

Celtic qualify for Europa League despite narrow defeat by Anderlecht PLZ Soccer
Scott Brown (left) and Anderlecht’s Sofiane Hanni battle for the ball (Andrew Milligan/PA)

Celtic: Craig Gordon 7 (out of 10), Mikael Lustig 6, Jozo Simunovic 6, Dedryck Boyata 6, Kieran Tierney 5, Scott Brown 7, Stuart Armstrong 5, Callum McGregor 6, James Forrest 7, Scott Sinclair 5, Moussa Dembele 6. Substitutes: Olivier Ntcham (for Armstrong, 46) 8, Tom Rogic (for Sinclair, 46) 7, Odsonne Edouard (for Dembele, 75) 5.

Anderlecht: Frank Boeckx 6, Dennis Appiah 7, Serigne Mbodji 6, Uros Spajic 7, Ivan Obradovic 7, Leander Dendoncker 6, Sven Kums 7, Pieter Gerkens 6, Sofiane Hanni 8, Adrien Trebel 7, Henry Onyekuru 6. Substitutes: Josue Sa (for Mbodji, 75) 5, Lukasz Teodorczyk (for Gerkens, 78) 5, Massimo Bruno (for Appiah, 90) 6.

Who’s up next?

Hibernian v Celtic, Ladbrokes Premiership, Sunday, December 10.

Anderlecht v Charleroi, Jupiler Pro League, Sunday, December 10.

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