• Champions League

Celtic dumped out of Europe by Milan

ESPN staff
November 26, 2013
Celtic cannot even qualify for the Europa League knockout stages © AP
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Celtic crashed out of Europe after a thumping 3-0 defeat by AC Milan in their Champions League Group H clash at Parkhead.

Brazilian star Kaka put the visitors ahead in the 13th minute when he headed a Valter Birsa corner past Hoops goalkeeper Fraser Forster.

Celtic defender Virgil van Dijk missed a sitter at the start of the second half when he blasted a shot straight at Milan goalkeeper Christian Abbiati, a minute before Rossoneri defender Cristian Zapata made it 2-0 from close range.

Mario Balotelli, in one of his more productive moods, scored a third with a drive on the hour mark to compound the misery of the home side who were made to pay for missing several chances.

Celtic remain bottom of the pool with three points from five games and their final fixture at the Nou Camp next month will be for pride only. With Ajax beating Barcelona 2-1 at the Amsterdam ArenA, the Scottish champions do not even have the safety net of the Europa League this season.

Ajax kept alive their hopes of qualifying, taking a shock 2-0 half-time lead as both Thulani Serero and Danny Hoesen scored their first European goals. Xavi scored a penalty after Joel Veltman was sent off but Ajax withstood fierce pressure in the remainder of the second half.

Arsenal will be made to wait until the final matchday to confirm their passage to the last 16, needing to avoid a defeat by three goals at Napoli, after Borussia Dortmund beat the Italian side 3-1 in Germany.

Dortmund edged ahead early on as Marco Reus fired home from the spot after Federico Fernandez brought down striker Robert Lewandowski. Jakub Blaszczykowski made it 2-0 in the second half after a fine sweeping move, finishing from Reus' pass, but when Lorenzo Insigne netted past an out of position Roman Weidenfeller, Napoli had hope of a point.

Those hopes were dashed seven minutes later when Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang clipped the ball over Pepe Reina from Lewandowski's through ball. Dortmund's victory means all three sides in Group F could finish on 12 points, if Napoli defeat Arsenal and Dortmund lose in Marseille on the final matchday. Dortmund are guaranteed to qualify if they beat Marseille.

Schalke drew 0-0 in Romania with Steaua Bucuresti and must beat Basel on the final matchday to progress while the Swiss side only need a draw.

Porto's hopes of reaching the knockout stages were dealt a major blow as they could only draw 1-1 at home to Austria Vienna.

Paulo Fonseca's side were made to pay for a slow start as Roman Kienast smashed in Vienna's first goal of the group stage so far after 11 minutes. Porto dominated thereafter but only had Jackson Martinez's header shortly after half-time to show for it by the end when they were booed from the pitch by the home fans.

That meant they failed to capitalise on second-placed Zenit St Petersburg's earlier 1-1 draw against Atletico Madrid to leave themselves a point adrift. With a trip to Atletico to come to round out their campaign, Porto face the prospect of dropping into the Europa League.

While Zenit enjoyed the lion's share of possession, Atletico were clinical, Adrian pouncing to put them ahead in the 53rd minute. However, a fluke goal - when highly-rated goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois completely miscalculated a straightforward tip-over from Toby Alderweireld's defensive header - saved Zenit in the 74th minute.

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