Celtic Ends UEFA Champions League Campaign with a Memorable Victory

The already-eliminated Celtic went out on a high in this season’s UEFA Champions League (UCL), with a stoppage time header from Gustaf Lagerbielke earning the Bhoys a 2-1 win against Feyenoord and ending a decade-long wait for a UCL victory on home turf.

Despite having very little to play for, Celtic was determined to at least end their horrendous 12-game winless home run in the UCL. Under the guidance of Brendan Rodgers, the team showcased fluid football right from the start. The previous victory against Dutch opposition, Ajax, added to their confidence, and the passionate fans at Celtic Park were on their feet as Kyogo Furuhashi raced onto Matt O’Riley’s ball, only to see his shot saved one-on-one by Justin Bijlow.

Celtic’s early pressure was short-lived, and Santiago Giménez’s goal was disallowed due to an offside flag. Despite this setback, Giménez continued to display scintillating form, and Joe Hart’s outstanding saves denied him not once but twice before Celtic seized the lead themselves.

The goal seemingly came out of nowhere when Ramiz Zerrouki’s tussle with Liam Scales was deemed too boisterous by referee Benoît Bastien, resulting in a penalty. Luis Palma confidently blasted the spot kick down the middle, giving Celtic the lead. Lutsharel Geertruida’s strike against the inside of the post was the closest Feyenoord came to equalizing before halftime.

Despite their fate already being sealed, Arne Slot’s side aimed to respond after the break and maintain momentum ahead of the UEFA Europa League playoffs. However, they were fortunate not to fall further behind when Bijlow brilliantly saved Palma’s shot at the near post. The away side had a flurry of half chances, but it took until the final 10 minutes for an equalizer.

Giménez’s pass across the box fortuitously found an unmarked Yankuba Minteh, who powered in a close-range shot. Celtic, known for surrendering late results in the UCL this season, managed to reverse that trend on the final matchday. O’Riley created space to deliver a cross, and substitute Lagerbielke was at the far post to head in and give the home fans the long-awaited UCL victory they had been waiting for.

Time soon ran out for Feyenoord, who have remained winless on the road in the UCL since 2002. However, they will still have the opportunity to participate in the UEFA Europa League playoffs, securing their place with a third-place finish in Group E.

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