Champions League: Ajax make light work of Standard Liege to reach play-offs

Celtic Manager Brendan Rodgers

Celtic Manager Brendan Rodgers

Brendan Rodgers described Dedryck Boyata's situation with Celtic as "sad" as he prepared for the crunch Champions League qualifier against AEK Athens on Tuesday night without the Belgium defender.

Celtic will not be playing in the Champions League group stages this season after losing to AEK Athens 2-1 tonight.

Celtic took control, with Tom Rogic and Griffiths both having luckless efforts on goal before the latter sent a fine Callum McGregor cross inches past the post from eight yards. Scott Sinclair's goal 12 minutes from time opened up the possibility of Celtic sneaking through on away goals, but they could not find the decisive strike.

"I still felt this was a game in which we had more than enough to win but you have to defend better than we did".

"We gave ourselves a chance and threw everything at it".

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It is the first time that former Liverpool manager Rodgers has lost back-to-back games since taking charge of Celtic in 2016, after their shock 1-0 Scottish Premiership defeat at Hearts last Saturday.

Rodgers admitted it was "very difficult" to get his head around his side's defending which left them in a Europa League play-off spot where they will play Latvian side Spartaks Jurmala or Lithuanian side Suduva. "I've always said we needed to strengthen (in the transfer window) and hopefully we can do that now".

"It's disappointing some of the comments of course but we'll deal with it internally".

Elsewhere, two-time European champions Benfica sealed a 2-1 aggregate victory over Fenerbahce.

After drawing the first leg 1-1 in Glasgow, it was all to play for in the Greek capital tonight, but they did not step up to the plate.

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