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Celtic crash to Champions League defeat

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Celtic's hopes of reaching the Champions League group stages were dealt a massive blow after the Scottish champions crashed to a 2-0 defeat to Shakhtyor Karaganda in Kazakhstan. 

The shock defeat leaves Neil Lennon's side with an uphill task in the return leg to reach the competition proper, and the financial rewards that it would bring. 

Celtic settled well on the artificial pitch at the packed-out Astana Arena, with Virgil van Dijk going close with a header on his debut for the Hoops. 

But it was the home side who struck first against the run of play, as Fraser Forster was beaten from close range as Andrei Finonchenko converted from a long throw after 12 minutes. 

Kris Commons almost levelled in spectacular fashion, but his thunderous strike came back off the bar much to the disappointment of the travelling fans. 

And they went close yet again before the break, as Giorgios Samaras header went narrowly wide. 

Celtic again began brightly in the second half, but were dealt a further blow when Sergei Khizhnickenko capitalised on some more poor defending to head home and double their lead. 

Neil Lennon's men pushed for a vital away goal but failed to find the net on a frustrating evening. 

Celtic have it all to do in next Wednesday's return leg, but in front of their home fans will be confident they can produce another special European performance to take their place in the group-stage draw. 

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Topics:
UEFA Champions League
Football

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This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeSport.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeSport.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

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