Celtic advanced to the Europa League group stage despite losing 2 – 1 to AZ Alkmaar, ending their six-game winning streak. So, yesterday’s fixtures brought group stage for Celtic and other Europa League football news.
Celtic advanced to the Europa League group stage, despite a 2-1 loss to AZ, thanks to Carl Starfelt’s own goal.
Group Stage for Celtic and Other Europa League Football News
The Hoops began the second leg at the AFAS Stadion on Thursday with a 2-0 lead from the first leg. And they then went on to defeat their Eredivisie opponents.
Kyogo Furuhashi continued his excellent start to his Celtic career. It was he who opened the scoring in this match with his seventh goal for the Glasgow club.
However, Zakaria Aboukhlal equalized for AZ only six minutes later.
So, while Furuhashi scored with his left foot in the third minute itself, Aboukhlal equalized with a 9th-minute strike.
Aboukhlal aimed from the centre of the penalty area to punish Joe Hart’s poor defending and erratic goalkeeping.
Then, with 26 minutes gone, Starfelt found the back of his own net.
After the break, AZ piled on the pressure but Ange Postecoglou’s side held on to advance 3-2 on aggregate. This was all ahead of the Old Firm derby at Ibrox on Sunday.
In the match, Celtic were not doing themselves any favours. When attempting to clear the ball, Starfelt embarrassingly turned the ball into his own net.
On the other hand, AZ had chances to force extra time but they had poor finishing.
In particular, Ernest Poku missed a golden chance from close range and Dani de Wit put a free header wide.
Celtic’s six-game winning streak came to an end, but they still qualified.
Meanwhile, AZ was relegated to the Europa Conference League group stage.
Alashkert 0 – 0 Rangers
HJK 2 – 5 Fenerbahce
Zorya 2 – 3 Rapid
Galatasaray 2 – 1 Randers
AZ Alkmaar 2 – 1 Celtic
CFR Cluj 1 – 2 Crvena Zvezda
Slovan Bratislava 2 – 2 Olympiacos
SK Sturm Graz 2 – 0 Mura
Antwerp 2 – 0 AC Omonia
Legia Warsaw 2 – 1 Slavia Praha