Celtic 0 AC Milan 3: Mikael Lustig laments week in which World Cup and Champions League hopes evaporated - European - Football - The Independent

Celtic 0 AC Milan 3: Mikael Lustig laments week in which World Cup and Champions League hopes evaporated

The Swede saw his country crash out of the World Cup play-offs after defeat to Portugal before Milan loss eliminated Celtic from this season's European competitions

Celtic defender Mikael Lustig admitted he has endured a week to forget after watching both his World Cup and Champions League dreams evaporate in the space of eight days.

The Hoops right-back was part of the Sweden squad which crashed out to a 4-2 aggregate play-off defeat against a Cristiano Ronaldo-inspired Portugal last Monday as they missed out on next year's finals in Brazil.

And to make matters worse, Lustig's hopes of reaching the last 16 of the Champions League for the second season running were left in tatters by AC Milan's 3-0 win at Parkhead on Tuesday night.

The defeat leave the Hoops bottom of Group H with just three points from five games an unable to even qualify for the Europa League.

Lustig said: "I had a really big dream to go to the World Cup but now that's over.

"I also know what it's like to play in the last 16 of the Champions League but that's over too, so it's been a bad week.

"But we just need to go home, maybe be a bit sad tomorrow but then start focusing on Sunday."

Lustig confirmed he may now bring forward an operation needed to repair a troubling hip injury.

But the pain of defeat was still nagging the defender after Neil Lennon's team all but handed the Italians three goals at Celtic Park.

Virgil Van Dijk failed to jump with Kaka as the Brazilian headed Milan ahead, while it was from another corner that Cristian Zapata prodded home the second.

And Efe Ambrose failed to get to grips with Mario Balotelli as the maverick striker slotted a third past Fraser Forster.

"It's the same feeling as last year when we lost to Juventus," said Lustig.

"We played pretty well, had most of the ball and created chances - but it's typical, we haven't conceded a goal from a set-play for almost two years and now we've done it twice in one game.

"When we conceded those two goals from corners we had to go forward a little bit more but that allowed them to get their third.

"I don't think Milan created that many chances but to win games at this level, you need something extra. We needed to be good in our own box and also be good in theirs. We didn't do either today."

Van Dijk missed a golden chance to level the game at 1-0 when he shot straight at Christian Abbiati and Lustig admitted that chance could have made all the difference.

He said: "Goals change matches and if we could have got that one straight after half-time, you never know what could have happened. We've played well in every game but you also need that bit of luck."

PA

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