Champions League + Davis Cup
Two spot kicks put Celtic in driving seat
Moussa Dembele came on as a second half substitute and fired Celtic into the next round of the Champions League with the home side’s second penalty, scored in the dying seconds of a pulsating match. It was his first goal for Celtic and could prove a priceless one.
Leith Griffiths gave Celtic the lead from the spot deep into first half injury time and Dembele repeated the trick on 92 minutes.
Celtic are now through to the Champions League play-off round and are guaranteed either Champions League or Europa League group matches.
Astana finished this third qualifying round second leg match with nine men after Dmitri Shomko followed Igor Shitov in picking up a second booking and dismissal.
Astana almost scored ten minutes into the second period when Roger Canas found the net, only for the linesman to flag for offside.
Celtic’s new signing Kolo Toure came on for Stuart Armstrong on 62 minutes but a rapturous welcome wasn’t enough to concern the visitors who managed to equalise through Ibraimi before the former Liverpool and Arsenal defender had got into his stride.
The victory will allow manager Brendan Rodgers to feel he has gone a long way to erase the nightmare of his debut match in Gibraltar.
He said: “I thought we thoroughly deserved to go through. They were absolutely brilliant.”
Celtic’s likely opponents are:
- Dinamo Zagreb (Croatia)
- Ludogorets Razgrad (Bulgaria)
- Copenhagen (Denmark)
- Hapoel Be’er Sehva (Israel)
The defending champions will return to the city where they defeated Australia on the way to winning the competition for the first time since 1936.
Andy Murray, who sat out the quarter-final victory over Serbia, is expected to join his brother Jamie in the team as they bid for a place in the final.
He will be in Rio for the Olympic Games and will then head to New York with hopes of winning the US Open for the second time.
The Davis Cup match takes place from 16 to 18 September.