Celtic have been eliminated from the 2020/21 Champions League after falling to a 2-1 home defeat to Ferencvaros in the second qualifying round.
Neil Lennon’s side were utterly dominant stats-wise against their Hungarian opponents, registering no less than 28 shots on target and boasting 71% possession, but were undone by two clinical finishes.
Celtic will now drop into the third round qualifying stage of the Europa League.
Right from the off it was the Bhoys who looked dominant, although the visitors took the lead in fine style seven minutes in. After defending a corner, Celtic failed to push out of their box in time, with the ball falling to David Siger who hit a superb dipping drive into the bottom corner.
Stunned by the goal, the Hoops were on tenterhooks for the following five minutes as the Hungarian side pushed for a two-goal lead. After their stuttering start, Celtic did begin composing themselves with Ryan Christie seeing an effort deflected just wide of the post.
Mohamed Elyounoussi and Christie both spurned good opportunities before the break, but the hosts were struggling without the focal point in attack the absent Odsonne Edouard – who is being linked with a move away – offers.
Their equaliser did come eight minutes after the restart, albeit in fortuitous fashion. Some patient build up play against their well-organised opponents eventually fell to Christie on the edge of the box, whose strike took a deflection on its way towards goal and looped over Dénes Dibusz in net.
Finely poised heading into the final 20 minutes, Lennon’s side were undone just as they looked the more likely to score. Hatem Elhamed was guilty of some hesitant defending that allowed Tokmac Nguen too much time to pick his spot, and his strike at goal squeezed its way into the bottom corner from a tight angle.
Piling forward in search of an equaliser to avoid crashing out at this early stage of qualifying, Celtic’s efforts were in vein. Their defeat marked the first time since 2005 that the club were eliminated from the competition at this stage, doing so against Artmedia Bratislava on that occasion. They now drop into the Europa League third qualifying round.