Celtic bounced from Champions League by AEK Athens Benfica reach playoffs

Celtic bounced from Champions League by AEK Athens Benfica reach playoffs

AEK beat 1967 champions Celtic 2-1 in a fervent atmosphere in Athens for a 3-2 aggregate win over the Scottish side while PAOK held out for a 0-0 draw at Spartak Moscow after edging the Russian outfit 3-2 in the first leg.

But Rodgers made it clear the Belgian, who wants to leave Celtic, was left at home because the manager only wanted players who are fully committed to the team.

Rodgers, who was also without suspended defender Kristoffer Ajer, said: "Yes, we were obviously missing our two best centre halves this evening unfortunately".

Fulham reportedly had a bid for Boyata rejected last week and his agent, Jacques Lichtenstein, was quoted by saying that as his client is in the final year of his contract, he could not risk playing when not 100 per cent fit.

However, he was sidelined by a mystery back injury.

The visitors were forced to pile men forward as a result and eventually pulled one back 12 minutes from time through Sinclair's well-placed header, but AEK managed to hang on. His upturn in form earned him a World Cup call-up for Belgium and he played against England in a group stage fixture in the absence of Vincent Kompany.

'The physio saw it and examined me right after the session.

'The exams proved I could not play against Hearts and, since then, I'm doing everything I can to be ready as quickly as possible'.

Rodgers refused to be drawn on whether Boyata had played his last game for the club yesterday.

"They have done it with so many players - Virgil van Dijk, Victor Wanyama and Stuart Armstrong in the summer - so I would imagine they would sell Dedryck".

Boyata, 27, joined Celtic from Manchester City in 2015.