Celtic’s chances of progressing into the group stages of the Champions League suffered a huge blow after a 2-0 defeat, with Shakhter Karagandy claiming the upper-hand going into the second leg in Glasgow.
Debutant Virgil Van Dijk threatened early on, with the Dutchman outmuscling keeper Aleksandr Mokin before having his shot cleared off the line by defender Aleksandr Simcevic.
The Kazakh side took a 12th minute lead, captain Andrei Finonchenko prodded home after a long throw by Gediminas Vicius, which was headed on by Nikola Vasiljevic.
Celtic needed a response and thought that they had found one with Kris Commons, but his shot struck the crossbar. Emilio Izaguirre and James Forrest threatened whilst Georgios Samaras headed wide as Celtic could not capitalise on sustained pressure.
Sergey Khizhnichenko then scored a second on 77 minutes after a counter-attack break by the hosts, capping off a great night for Shakhter in Kazakhstan's capital city stadium that holds a capacity of 30,000 seats - compared to the clubs smaller ground in Karagandy.
The Scottish side pushed for a late goal to help reduce the deficit, although it didn’t come and Neil Lennon’s side will now have to overturn the 2-0 deficit in Glasgow next Wednesday, after a thoroughly disappointing night in the Astana Arena.
What were your thoughts on the game? Will Celtic make it into the group stages? Have your say below...
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