Scottish champion Celtic was given a scare by Astana before advancing to the Champions League group stage 8-4 on aggregate on Tuesday.
Celtic held a 5-0 lead heading into the second leg of the playoff round but lost 4-3 in Kazakhstan.
Kristoffer Ajer’s own goal in the 26th minute gave Astana a glimmer of hope of mounting a comeback. Although Scott Sinclair leveled eight minutes later, quick-fire Astana goals at the start of second half from Serikzhan Muzhikov and Patrick Twumasi restored the host’s lead on the night.
Twumasi netted again in the 69th to send Astana into a 4-1 lead but his team still required three more goals to go through. Celtic’s nerves were eased by goals in the 80th from Olivier Ntcham and Leigh Griffiths in the 90th. Celtic will discover on Thursday who it faces in the group stage.
LATER TUESDAY IN PLAYOFF ROUND (first leg scores in parentheses)
Maribor (1) vs. Hapoel Be’er Sheva (2)
Nice (0) vs. Napoli (2)
Rijeka (1) vs. Olympiakos (2)
Sevilla (2) vs. Istanbul Basaksehir (1)
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