Celtic FC Dumped Out Of Champions League By Underdogs Cluj

Ciprian Deac of CFR Cluj with team mates Paulo Vinicius & Andonie Andrei Burca as he celebrates scoring to give CFR Cluj a 0-1 lead. Photo by Stuart Wallace/BPI/Shutterstock (10360977av)

In what was one of the biggest shocks of the Champions League qualifiers thus far, reigning Scottish Premiership champions Celtic were eliminated from the competition by Romanian side CFR Cluj.

While the Scottish side managed a 1-1 draw away from home in the first leg, poor defensive performance in the return fixture allowed the underdogs to pull off a shocking 4-3 win in what was a memorable clash.

The Romanians opened the scoring in the 27th minute, while the Scottish hosts were eventually able to slot away two goals in the 51st and 61st minute to send the Celtic Park crowd into a frenzy. The visiting side then equalized through a 74th-minute penalty, while Celtic was quick to restore their lead just two minutes later.

With non-stop action in the final 20 minutes of the game, Cluj yet again equalized in the 80th minute to bring the scores to 3-3. In the most dramatic fashion, Cluj was able to snatch a winner at the death, seven minutes deep into added time.

This loss not only deals a blow to Celtic’s reputation and team morale but also does its fair share of financial damage to a club in a precarious financial situation. While the sale of Kieran Tierney did much to boost Celtic’s finances, the Scottish side’s failure to secure Champions League qualification and the prize money that comes with it means that this money will likely not be used for further transfer before the close of the transfer window.

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