Champions League wrap: Celtic and Dundalk face very different away trips

Celtic took a huge step towards reaching the Champions League group stages for the first time in three years, despite conceding twice against Hapoel Be'er Sheva in Glasgow.

Brendan Rodgers' side were cruising in the first leg when 3-0 up at half-time, and dreaming of a potential £20million cash injection thanks to a place alongside the continent's elite, only to be pegged back to 3-2 before the hour mark.

Two late goals from Moussa Dembele and captain Scott Brown ensured it ended 5-2, though, and that gives the Hoops a three-goal cushion ahead of the second leg in Israel in six days' time.

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers celebrates at the final whistle. Photo: Jeff Holmes/PA
Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers celebrates at the final whistle. Photo: Jeff Holmes/PA

Having lost to Lincoln Red Imps and drawn at Astana in their previous two first-leg encounters in this year's Champions League qualification process, there appeared to be no sign of drama when Tom Rogic's opener was added to by a Leigh Griffiths brace, the second a terrific free-kick.

The visitors had not even had a shot on target before Lucio Maranhao pulled one back in the 55th minute and when Maor Melikson added a second moments later, Rodgers' side looked like unravelling.

He responded with three substitutions in 10 minutes and after Dembele had added a fourth, Brown followed up his initial attempt to score for the first time since September last year to restore Celtic's three-goal cushion and take them to the brink of the group stages.

Dundalk manager Stephen Kenny is dejected after the final whistle. Photo : Niall Carson/PA
Dundalk manager Stephen Kenny is dejected after the final whistle. Photo : Niall Carson/PA

It seems they are unlikely to be joined by League of Ireland champions Dundalk, who conceded twice in the second half to lose 2-0 against Legia Warsaw in Dublin.

Dundalk, bidding to become the first Irish side to ever reach the Champions League group stages, fell behind to a Nemanja Nikolic penalty nine minutes after the restart, which was followed up by stoppage-time strike from Aleksandar Prijovic.

Last year's Europa League semi-finalists Villarreal must overturn a one-goal deficit in Monaco if they are to reach the group stages having fallen to a 2-1 defeat at home.

It took just three minutes for 2004 runners-up Monaco to lead through a penalty from rumoured Manchester United target Fabinho.

Alexandre Pato, a loanee with Chelsea last term, equalised for the Yellow Submarines but Bernardo Silva claimed a winner for Monaco, who had Benjamin Mendy sent off.

The tie between European heavyweights Porto and Roma is finely poised at 1-1 after their first leg in Portugal.

Felipe's own goal put the Italians ahead yet ex-Arsenal defender Thomas Vermaelen was sent off before half-time on his debut.

Andre Silva's penalty pulled it back to 1-1, yet Porto were unable to make their one-man advantage count ahead of the return fixture in the Italian capital.

Elsewhere, Ludogorets are in charge of their tie with Plzen thanks to a 2-0 victory given to them by second-half goals from Cosmin Moti and Virgil Misidjan.


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