Celtic’s Europa League hopes ended by Leverkusen rally
London (AFP) – Celtic’s chances of progress in the Europa League were ended by a late Bayer Leverkusen rally to lose 3-2 in Germany on Thursday as Real Betis, Lazio and Galatasaray secured their places in the knockout stages.
Leverkusen had already qualified but made sure of top spot in Group G and a place in the last 16 thanks to two goals in the final eight minutes at the Bay Arena.
Robert Andrich headed the hosts in front before Josip Juranovic equalised from the penalty spot.
Jota’s sweet strike 11 minutes into the second half had Celtic on course for their first ever win on German soil.
But Andrich smashed home his second of the game between Joe Hart’s legs before Moussa Diaby beat the former England international from the edge of the box.
Celtic are assured of dropping into the Europa Conference League in the new year, but cannot now catch Betis, who beat Ferencvaros 2-0 to guarantee second in the group.
Lazio and Galatasaray will face off in two weeks’ time for top spot in Group E after securing qualification in style.
The Italians were 3-0 winners over Lokomotiv Moscow, who are set to lose head of sports and development Ralf Rangnick to Manchester United according to reports.
Ciro Immobile scored two second half penalties before Pedro Rodriguez rounded off the scoring.
Galatasaray hold a three-point lead at the top of the group after ending Marseille’s chances of progress in a 4-2 thriller in Istanbul.
West Ham’s fine return to European football continued with a 2-0 win over Rapid Vienna despite David Moyes naming a much-changed line-up.
Andriy Yarmolenko and Mark Noble were on target for the English side.