Celtic easily beats Anderlecht 3-0 in Champions League

Celtic's Leigh Griffiths, third right, jubilates with teammates after scoring the first goal during a Champions League Group B soccer match between Anderlecht and Celtic at the Constant Vanden Stock stadium in Brussels, Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2017. (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert)

Celtic took a big step toward at least a spot in the Europa League when it beat Anderlecht 2-0 away from home in UEFA Champions League Group B.

BRUSSELS — Celtic took a big step toward at least a spot in the Europa League on Wednesday when it beat Anderlecht 3-0 away from home in the Champions League.

With Bayern Munich and Paris Saint-Germain being the undisputed favorites to advance from Group B, goals by Leigh Griffiths and Scott Sinclair, along with an own-goal by Kara Mbodji, gave the Scottish champion an important victory. A third-place finish would secure a place in UEFA's second tier competition.

The win underscored Celtic's great start in the Scottish league, where it leads the table and is fresh from a victory over its Glasgow rival, Rangers.

After PSG beat Bayern Munich 3-0, the French champion leads Group B with 6 points from two games, while Celtic and Bayern are tied on three, with Anderlecht at the bottom with zero points.

In the 38th minute, Griffiths finished off a smooth team move by tapping the ball home unmarked, with the Anderlecht defense in disarray. In the 50th minute, Mbodji turned a shot from Patrick Roberts past his own goalkeeper following more defensive bungling.

Sinclair capped a great Celtic performance with a third goal in injury time.

While Celtic thrives, Anderlecht has been struggling. The Belgian champion is languishing in seventh place in the domestic league and recently parted company with its coach, Rene Weiler. Interim coach Nicolas Frutos was untested at international level and it showed in the quality of his team's performance.

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