Malmo FF v Celtic – Champions League Qualifying Play-Off Preview

Malmo and Celtic go head to head on Tuesday evening in the second-leg of their Champions League Qualifying play-off. After a thrilling 3-2 victory for Celtic in the first-leg last week at Celtic Park, both teams go into Tuesday’s match with their Champions League qualifying dreams still very much alive.

Malmo coach Age Hareide has commented over the weekend that his side are now favourites to go through to the group stages of the Champions League following the first-leg in Glasgow last week. Having reached the groups stages last year, Hareide feels that his players have the skill and desire to turn over the one goal deficit they currently face, aided by the two away goals they scored at Celtic Park. Hareide has also commented that he feels that the Celtic team do not have the stamina to last the full 90 minutes, one of the reasons for them conceding the late goal last week. Malmo will once again look to striker Jo Inge Berget to test the Celtic defence. Berget scored both Malmo goals in the first-leg and now has nine goals in all competitions this season. Malmo lost 1-0 to Hacken in their league game at the weekend however, not the ideal preparation for the visit of the Scottish Champions.

Celtic were disappointed to concede two goals in the first-leg, especially the second goal which came deep into added on time but manager Ronny Deila feels that having scored three goals last week at home, that Celtic have the capability to score on Tuesday also. Deila rested nine of the players who started against Malmo last week for Celtic’s league match on Saturday against Dundee United, with this ‘reserve’ team winning 3-1. Deila does have a major injury concern over Swedish defender Mikael Lustig who was injured against Malmo and he is rated as only having a 50-50 chance of being fit for Tuesday’s match. If he does miss out, Deila may select 19-year-old Said Janko, who impressed on Saturday against Dundee United. Deila will be hoping that striker Leigh Griffiths can continue his current good form. Griffiths scored twice in the first-leg and has also scored in the last three league games as Celtic have made a strong start to the season as they look to retain their Scottish Premier League title.

Malmo are the 2.63 (13/8) favourites for victory on Tuesday night with Celtic available at 2.8 (9/5) and the draw at 3.6 (13/5). After the exciting and free-flowing football of the first-leg, the second-leg is likely to be a far more cagey affair and the recommended football tip is the match to end in a draw at 3.6.

By: Scott McGlynn

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