Rodgers’ side controlled the possession for the rest of the half but failed to take their chances with Leigh Griffiths missing the target from close range.
And their Champions League hopes took a further blow at the start of the second period when Marko Livaja headed in from close range, again exposing their defensive frailties.
Moussa Dembele and Scott Sinclair were brought on for the closing stages and made an instant impact, with the latter’s bullet header from Kieran Tierney’s cross giving the Scottish champions hope.
But the home side clung on in the final minutes to seal their place in the playoff round as Celtic suffer a Greek tragedy and drop into the Europa League playoffs.
Celtic's Leigh Griffiths looks dejected after the match
Image credit: Reuters
What does the result mean for the future of Boyata and Rodgers? Rodgers admitted before the game the defender was fit but was not playing after his transfer saga sparking criticism from former Hoops players including John Hartson and Chris Sutton about the Belgian’s behaviour. He has a lot to do to get back in the good books. As for Rodgers, he has been unhappy with his side’s transfer business after losing out on John McGinn but has plenty of credit in the bank after two successive domestic trebles.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Marko Livaja (AEK Athens). The Croatian is nicknamed the 'Balotelli of the Balkans' and with good reason. The forward was constantly in the thick of the action, scoring in important header and pulling the strings with his link-up play.
Athens' Marko Livaja celebrates scoring their second goal with team mates