Ange's Celtic suffer Europa heartbreak

Moussa Diaby (r) celebrates Bayer Leverkusen's winner which sent Celtic out of the Europa League.
Moussa Diaby (r) celebrates Bayer Leverkusen's winner which sent Celtic out of the Europa League.

Celtic's hopes of progressing in the Europa League were dashed in agonising fashion as a late fightback from Bayer Leverkusen denied them a famous victory in Germany.

Ange Postecoglou's spirited side knew they would probably require a win to keep their last-32 dream alive and were on course for this outcome until the closing stages after a Josip Juranovic penalty and a strike from Jota cancelled out Robert Andrich's early goal for the hosts.

However, Leverkusen hit back twice in the closing eight minutes through Andrich (82nd) and Moussa Diaby (87th) to win 3-2 and top the group.

"It is a tough one to take," said Postecoglou. "We kinda hung in there and gave ourselves a chance to pull off a great result but ultimately they're a good team and we didn't finish the game off in the way we could have.

"Credit to the players because Leverkusen are a fantastic team and we came to their back yard and gave them a game.

"In all our European games we've taken it to some very good opponents. We know there's a gap between us and the best but we'll bridge that gap if we keep taking this approach whenever we play these teams."

The result means Celtic will drop into the Conference League after Christmas, with Real Betis going through as runners-up after a 2-0 win over Ferencvaros.

In Istanbul, Galatasaray reached the knockout stages with a pulsating 4-2 home win over Olympique de Marseille.

Goals from Alexandra Cicaldrau, Duje Caleta-Car (own goal), Sofiane Feghouli and Ryan Babbel eliminated the Ligue 1 side from the competition.

Lazio joined the Turkish side from Group E after two Ciro Immobile penalties helped the Italians to a 3-0 win at Lokomotiv Moscow.

Immobile converted his second-half spot-kicks in quick succession while Pedro Rodriguez sealed Lazio's win after a quick break.

They were joined by Spaniards Betis, who eased to a home win over Hungary's Ferencvaros thanks to goals from Cristian Tello and Sergio Canales.

West Ham had already booked their place in the knockout stages and stayed top of Group H after first-half goals from Andriy Yarmolenko and Mark Noble secured a 2-0 win at Rapid Vienna.

Dinamo Zagreb missed a chance to join them as they were held to a 1-1 home draw by Belgium's Genk, with both sides still in contention to clinch the runners-up spot in the last round of games on Dec.7.

Group F is still wide open after Red Star Belgrade beat Ludogorets 1-0 thanks to a Mirko Ivanic effort and Midtjylland ground out a 3-2 home win over Braga, Evander Ferreira netting a stoppage-time penalty for the Danish side.

Milos Degenek's Red Star, Braga and Awer Mabil's Midtjylland are vying for the two knockout berths.

Leicester City moved top of Group C after seeing out a 3-1 win over Legia while 10-man Monaco beat Real Sociedad 2-1 to top Group B.

Alfredo Morelos scored both goals as Rangers booked their place in the knockout stages with a 2-0 win over Sparta Prague while there were also wins for Lyon and PSV over Brondby and Sturm Graz respectively.

Australian Associated Press