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Braga bow leaves Celtic reeling

SC Braga 3-0 Celtic FC
The Scottish side have a mountain to climb after goals from Alan, Elderson and Matheus ensured a memorable debut for Braga.

Alan wheels away after opening the scoring against Celtic
Alan wheels away after opening the scoring against Celtic ©UEFA.com

UEFA Champions League debutants SC Braga have one foot in the play-offs after a 3-0 victory in the first leg of their third qualifying round tie against Celtic FC.

Braga finished runners-up in Portugal last season to earn a place in Europe's premier club competition for the first time, but showed no sign of opening-night nerves. Domingos Paciência's side brushed aside the 1967 European champions thanks to goals from Alan, Elderson and Matheus.

Neil Lennon's first competitive game in charge of the Hoops took a turn for the worse after 26 minutes, Ki Sung-Yong handling a Miguel Garcia cross inside the penalty area and Alan keeping cool from the spot. Celtic, deploying just Georgios Samaras up front, offered little sign that a comeback was on the cards and barely registered a shot on target all evening.

They nevertheless looked set to restrict Braga to a one-goal lead ahead of next week's return in Glasgow until the hosts struck twice in the latter stages. Elderson, making his first appearance since his move from Stade Rennais FC, was the man to pounce on a defensive lapse and bundle in a Matheus corner.

Creator turned scorer with two minutes left as Matheus unleashed an fierce free-kick from more than 30 metres out which left Łukasz Załuska floundering. Summer acquisition Daryl Murphy did at least climb off the bench to test Mário Felgueiras in the Braga goal during added time but the damage was done for Celtic.