Champions League

Tributes for Malmö after stunning play-off victory

Tributes for Malmö after stunning play-off victory
Malmö FF coach Åge Hareide hugs Yoshimar Yotún. Photo: Andreas Hillergren/TT
Swedish star footballer Zlatan Ibrahimovic was among those celebrating after his former Malmö club overturned a deficit against Celtic to reach the Champions League for the second year running.

Celtic crashed out of the Champions League on Tuesday night as Malmö claimed a 2-0 victory in the second leg of their play-of round clash in Sweden to progress 4-3 on aggregate.

Malmö, who were defeated by the Glaswegians last week, opened the scoring in the 23rd minute when Markus Rosenberg, suspended for the first leg, headed a corner past Craig Gordon.

The Scots had a Nir Bitton goal controversially chopped off just before the break before Felipe Carvalho's goal in the 54th minute put the Swedish side through to the lucrative group stages of the Champions League for the second year running.

And Sweden's national striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who played for the team 1994-2001, was among those leading the wave of congratulations pouring in for the southern Swedes after the match.

“MFF is starting to get used to Champions League. Totally wonderful and I hope that I will get to experience Champions League in Malmö on the pitch. Big congratulations!” commented the footballer on social media.

Swedish footballer Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

Malmö captain and forward Rosenberg, meanwhile, said he would not shy away from a clash with Ibrahimovic's Paris Saint-Germain on home turf.

“It would be fun for the supporters with Zlatan in Malmö. Not that I would have that many duels with him – we're not involved on the pitch in the same way,” he told regional newspaper Sydsvenskan.

Buoyed by a boisterous support on Tuesday evening, it was Rosenberg who opened the scoring for Malmö. He made a short dash into the six-yard box for a corner and leapt above Virgil van Dijk to glance a header over the head of Janko, who was guarding the far post.

Malmö FF captain Markus Rosenberg. Photo: Andreas Hillergren/TT

Griffiths was lucky to escape with just a booking when he kneed Malmö defender Anton Tinnerholm in the groin in an off-the-ball incident before Celtic had a goal ruled out in the controversial circumstances in the 42 minute.

A corner appeared to hit the arm of Malmö defender Kari Arnason before Bitton put the rebound into the net but Serbian referee Milorad Mazic was quick to disallow it.

In the second half there was nothing the goalkeeper could do to stop Malmö doubling their advantage from the resultant corner when Felipe Carvalho's headed flick-on ricocheted off Boyata and crossed the line before Gordon could scramble it clear.

For the Hoops it is the second successive year they have fallen at this hurdle and the Scottish champions must now be content with a place in the draw for the group stages of the Europa League.

Celtic manager Ronny Deila was less than enchanted at the display.

“I think we had a very poor performance,” said the Norwegian.

“The whole team looked frightened and scared when they played. No one wanted the ball and we lost the ball in dangerous situations all the time.”

Malmö FF are through to the Champions League. Photo: Andreas Hillergren/TT