Both sides were well short of full strength, but the Bundesliga club’s superior depth of squad told. Celtic’s Europa League hopes were dented after the concession of two sloppy goals in four first-half minutes against RB Leipzig in Germany.
Celtic looked to have survived early Leipzig pressure until Matheus Cunha fired the opener on the half-hour mark. A deflected Bruma shot doubled the lead and a fine Craig Gordon save denied Jean-Kevin Augustin a third.
Leipzig coach Ralf Rangnick had said before kick-off that the two sides were effectively vying for second place behind Group B leaders RB Salzburg. And the Germans’ victory, combined with the Austrians retaining their 100% record with a 2-0 win over Rosenborg, puts them three points ahead of Celtic.
The same old story for Celtic
Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers had said after Sunday’s thrilling 4-2 win over Hibernian that his side was beginning to rediscover their form. However, shorn of captain Scott Brown, Tom Rogic and James Forrest through injury and suspension, the first win in 12 matches in Germany always looked a tall order.
Celtic’s defensive record away from home from Europe also made it seem unlikely and so it proved, with the Scottish champions now having kept just five clean sheets in 19 away games under Rodgers. In that time, they have conceded an average of two goals per game and they maintained that record as Leipzig extended their unbeaten run to seven games.
Eboue Kouassi started impressively in a rare start in midfield, but when he and Dedryck Boyata failed to cut out Marcel Sabitzer’s cross, Cunha fired past Gordon.
Cristian Gamboa had also been drafted in and, when the right-back dived into a challenge on Marcelo Saracchi, the Argentine was free to deliver a cross that fell kindly for Bruma to finish powerfully past Gordon, just as he did in Portugal’s friendly win over Scotland earlier this month.
Rangnick had retained just three of the side that drew with Augsburg in the Bundesliga, but they still had too much for Celtic. Konrad Laimer flashed a drive wide after the break and Augustin had a shot flicked on to a post by Gordon.
Celtic’s opportunities were limited. Lewis Morgan, the winger handed a first start, set up Odsonne Edouard for an early shot across the face of goal, but thereafter Celtic offered little threat until the wasteful Olivier Ntcham fired straight at goalkeeper Yvon Mvogo late on.
- Celtic have won just one of their last 19 group stage games away from home in Europe (W1 D6 L12);
- Excluding qualifiers, Celtic have kept a clean sheet in just one of their last 27 away European games;
- The goals were Leipzig’s first two shots on target;
- Celtic didn’t muster a shot on target until Olivier Ntcham’s 85th-minute attempt;
- Cunha has scored four goals in his five starts at the Red Bull Arena this season
Source: BBC News