Malmö 2-0 Celtic (agg: 4-3)
Markus Rosenberg's first-half strike and a Dedryck Boyata own goal overturned a first-leg deficit and sent MFF back to the group stage.
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- Captain Markus Rosenberg makes it advantage Malmö on 23 minutes
- Dedryck Boyata's own goal, again from a corner, seals progress early in second half
- Celtic's chances undermined by Swedes' last-gasp goal in play-off first leg
- Group stage draw in Monaco on Thursday at 17.45CET
Malmö will compete in the UEFA Champions League group stage for a second, successive season after the Swedish title holders beat Celtic 2-0 in tonight's play-off decider to advance 4-3 on aggregate.
If Markus Rosenberg's first-half goal heralded victory for Åge Hareide's men, a Dedryck Boyata own goal nine minutes after the restart settled matters, though the hosts' progress also owed something to Jo Inge Berget's 95th-minute strike in the 3-2 first-leg defeat in Glasgow. It was another show of resolve from the Sky Blues who had won both previous qualifying ties, against Žalgiris and Salzburg, in tough second-leg assignments.
Like Berget, Leigh Griffiths also scored twice last week and the Celtic forward slashed wide the visitors' first opportunity before Virgil van Dijk headed over. The next corner did produce a goal, though, as home skipper Rosenberg – back, crucially, from suspension along with Enoch Kofi Adu – turned in Yoshimar Yotún's in-swinger.
Among a host of subsequent near-misses involving the MFF No9, Rosenberg had a goalbound drive blocked by Boyata while Nikola Djurdjić forced a superb save from Craig Gordon. The Malmö New Stadium breathed a collective sigh of relief, however, when a potential Celtic equaliser was ruled out for an infringement in the area after Nir Bitton turned in a corner close to half-time.
There would be no ninth group stage campaign for Ronny Deila's team, though, once Felipe Carvalho flicked on Vladimir Rodić's corner and Boyata could only help the ball in. The second goal was harsh on Gordon following his double stop from Rodić and Rosenberg, but Malmö were on their way to making it 12 qualifying matches unbeaten at this arena while tearing up Celtic's five-game undefeated record against Allsvenskan opposition. The reward for the 1979 European Champion Clubs' Cup runners-up: a second excursion into the group phase.
Åge Hareide, Malmö coach
We worked hard on set pieces – that is why we closed our training session, so we could focus on them. I would not say Celtic were weak. Maybe we made them weak. Our game plan was perfect. We wanted to play a bit longer than we normally do and work on the second balls. Markus Rosenberg and Niko [Djurdjić] did a fantastic job up front. We had more clear-cut chances. Djurdjić had one in the first half and Rosenberg in the second, when the keeper made some amazing saves. If any team was lucky, it was Celtic.
Ronny Deila, Celtic manager
It's quite simple – we were not even close to what we are capable of achieving. We looked very uncomfortable with the ball and did not want the ball. We looked scared out there and that is very, very disappointing. We were like this as a team, it was not just one or two players. We underachieved as a team and it's my responsibility. We were not at a level that we hoped to reach – we were not even close. Malmö deserved to go through.