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Braga advance despite Celtic reverse

Celtic FC 2-1 SC Braga (agg: 2-4)
The hosts' victory on the night proved in vain as competition debutants Braga qualified for the play-offs.

Gary Hooper equalised for Celtic on the night
Gary Hooper equalised for Celtic on the night ©Getty Images

UEFA Champions League debutants SC Braga secured their place in the play-offs after weathering a late Celtic FC onslaught.

Paulo César's 20th-minute goal effectively completed the job begun a week ago in northern Portugal, when Domingos Paciência's side gained a substantial cushion with a 3-0 victory. Celtic won on the night thanks to second-half goals by Gary Hooper and Efraín Juárez yet it was not enough to loosen Braga's grip on the tie.

History weighed heavy against the hosts from the outset, having never overturned a three-goal first-leg deficit in UEFA competition. For last season's Portuguese Liga runners-up, however, it was about making history of their own in their maiden campaign at this level. The visitors appeared happy to sit deep and absorb Celtic's early blows, with Georgios Samaras and Joe Ledley going close early on. In the 20th minute, though, Braga took the lead with their first effort of the night.

Alan, Celtic's chief tormentor in the tie, broke away on the right before whipping a pinpoint cross towards Paulo César, who completed the move with a perfect glancing header. Celtic were left facing a huge task, but rallied after the interval with Hooper converting Marc-Antoine Fortuné's delivery in the 52nd minute, before Juárez struck the winning goal on the night 11 minutes from time. Disciplined Braga regained their nerve, though, and held on to ensure their progress.