Borussia Monchengladbach 1-1 Celtic: Moussa Dembele penalty keeps Hoops' Champions League hopes alive
Moussa Dembele's second-half penalty gave Celtic a 1-1 draw at Borussia Monchengladbach on Tuesday and kept the Hoops' Champions League hopes alive.
In a spirited performance by the visitors, Scott Sinclair crashed a shot off the post in the 23rd minute before home captain Lars Stindl, who had opened the scoring in their 2-0 win in Glasgow, volleyed home on 32 minutes to give the Bundesliga side the interval lead.
Striker Andre Hahn hit woodwork for the hosts after the break but, in the 76th minute, defender Julian Korb was shown a straight red card by Portuguese referee Manuel De Sousa for pulling Dembele down in the box as he shaped to shoot, and the French striker slotted in the penalty.
The Scottish champions finished the game looking for the win but had to be content with the point which took them on to two, with two matches remaining - against Barcelona and Manchester City. City's win over Barca on Tuesday moved Pep Guardiola's side five points ahead of Celtic.
Brendan Rodgers had something of a defensive crisis with Kieran Tierney, Kolo Toure and Jozo Simunovic all out while a virus prevented striker Leigh Griffith travelling to Germany.
Sweden right-back Mikael Lustig moved into the centre to partner Erik Sviatchenko, with Cristian Gamboa coming in at full-back, as midfielder Stuart Armstrong replaced Nir Bitton.
Monchengladbach boss Andre Schubert was able to call upon Thorgan Hazard, brother of Chelsea star Eden Hazard, after he had missed the game at Celtic Park through injury.
The visitors survived several corners in the opening stages against a home side who took control without looking as purposeful as they had in Glasgow.
The Hoops, indeed, began to edge forward with growing confidence.
However, when they lost possession high up the field in the 20th minute, Monchengladbach broke with pace and goalkeeper Craig Gordon had to race from his goal to block a low drive by defender Tobias Stobl, who had breached the Hoops defence.
Three minutes later, the Bundesliga side enjoyed some luck when Sinclair's curling shot from just inside the box beat Yann Sommer but rebounded off the post, with the Foals keeper relieved to be able to run and gather the loose ball.
The anxiety among the Gladbach fans grew as their side struggled to hit top gear, but, when Hazard got beyond stand-in left-back Emilio Izaguirre once more, Celtic were made to pay. His cross found Stindl, who sent a right-footed volley past Gordon from 10 yards.
The Scottish champions, however, could have been satisfied to a degree with their first-half performance.
Rodgers' side started the second half confidently enough but were cut open again in the 52nd minute by Hahn, but this time Stindl did not connect with his shot properly and the ball trundled through to Gordon.
Fabian Johnson came close with an angled drive and Gordon saved a close-range effort from Christoph Kramer and a powerful drive from Hazard as Monchengladbach reasserted themselves.
Amid all that Patrick Roberts replaced James Forrest and, as the game stretched, opportunities presented themselves at both ends.
In the 65th minute Stindl set up Hahn, whose side-footed shot from 14 yards beat Gordon but came off the post while Dembele tested Sommer at the other end with a decent drive.
However, when Dembele was hauled to the ground inside the penalty by Korb as he skewed his shot wide of the target, De Sousa pointed to the spot and the striker sent the Monchengladbach man packing.
The Parkhead powerhouse sent Sommer the wrong way his spot-kick, much to the delight of the travelling fans - although it could have been even better had substitute Callum McGregor, on for Gamboa, not driven wide of the far post when presented with a late chance to give Celtic victory.
Brendan Rodgers vows to make Celtic a Champions League force in seasons to come
By Ronnie Esplin
Boss Brendan Rodgers believes Celtic will be a Champions League last-16 team in two or three years.
The Hoops take on Borussia Monchengladbach in Germany tonight looking to add to their solitary Group C point after three fixtures and knowing that realistically a win is needed to have any chance of qualifying for the knock-out stages.
After losing left-back Kieran Tierney last week with ankle ligament damage, they will have to do it without another three key players as Kolo Toure, Jozo Simunovic and Leigh Griffiths missed the trip with a combination of injury, fatigue and illness.
The Ulsterman was asked yesterday if he would expect the Scottish Champions to be a last-16 side in that time period.
"I would hope so, yes," he said. "That's the process we're beginning.
"This is what this experience of this competition has given us - the chance to build towards that.
"The huge improvement that's been made domestically is a huge credit to the players and how well they've worked and how hard they've worked. And it's step by step.
"They've arrived into this level, in the toughest group in the competition and of course it's been difficult for them. We don't see it as a threat.
"It's a major challenge for us but it's a great challenge to have.
"Each year we can arrive here, we can improve on it and hopefully get to the latter stages consistently.
"Let's see how the next game goes and take it from there."
Rodgers, though, acknowledged the difficulty of keeping a squad together for any length of time.
He said: "It's also the job within the club that we can have this pipeline of players, if we lose one or two that we're ahead of the game and ensuring we can replace them.
"It'll always be the nature that, no matter how great Celtic is as a football club and the great support and playing for Celtic being the great privilege it is, there's other factors in football that will sometimes take players away and you can't blame a player.
"I think you have to be realistic, but the idea is to keep that pipeline of players coming in that if you lose one then that's the job of the structure to help us do that."
The former Liverpool boss sidestepped the question of qualifying this season.
He said: "I'm only concentrating on the next game. It is going to be a tough game for us.
"We didn't play so well in the last game and they probably played at a level they haven't played at for a number of weeks but, with that in mind, if we don't make errors we can still take something from the game.
"It is about putting in a performance away from home and if we can do that then we know we have a possibility of getting a good result."
Celtic were beaten 2-0 by the German side a fortnight ago with the visitors more than worth their win.
The Carnlough man acknowledged that, saying: "They reinforced that they are a very good side. The level they are developing over the last couple of years is a level we are trying to get to obviously over time.
"I experienced it in the Champions League when I was in England. It is a step up even from that, the intensity, the quality, the speed.
"We are taking a couple of jumps up to that level. At this level there are very few opportunities and you have to take them but whilst remaining very solid and super competitive."
Toure missed the trip with an abductor injury, fellow defender Simunovic is struggling to play so soon after the game against Aberdeen on Saturday, while striker Griffiths has a virus.
Rodgers said: "It is unfortunate but you can't control it.
"It is something that you can't worry about.
"You hope those players can get back as quick as they can but it is an on-going issue with Jozo and Kolo."