Elfsborg v Celtic: Nervy night awaits for Lennon's side

Elfsborg loanee Mo Bangura is free to face parent club Celtic

Celtic start with a 1-0 lead, but are far from certain to reach the final Champions League qualifying round...

"Elfsborg are lacking creativity, but will be tactically setup once again to frustrate Celtic. They will surely defend deep early on, let the Scottish Premiership giants have the ball for long periods, and look to take advantage on the counterattack and from set-pieces."
Best Bet: Back Elfsborg to keep a clean sheet at 3.7511/4

Elfsborg v Celtic, Wednesday 18:45, BBC Two Scotland (Sky channel 970 elsewhere in UK), Match Odds: Elfsborg 2.8815/8, Celtic 2.77/4, The Draw 3.412/5

A late Kris Commons header is all that separates these two after a tense clash in Glasgow, where Celtic controlled the game but were worryingly timid in the final third.

The goalscoring void left by Gary Hooper, who signed for Norwich two weeks ago, has yet to be filled and a scrappy 2-1 weekend victory over Ross County did little to install confidence that the Hoops have the quality to compete at the top level of European football this season.

Champions League qualification is crucial for everyone associated with Celtic, not only for financial purpose, but for pure adrenaline and excitement levels too. Another cakewalk is expected in the Scottish Premiership under Neil Lennon and, although domestic success will be their main aim as always, a season without the glitz and glamour of the Champions League at Celtic Park would be a big blow for the fan-base.

Elfsborg Clean Sheet?

Elfsborg are lacking creativity, but you can guarantee that they will be tactically setup once again to frustrate Celtic. Like the first meeting, they will surely defend deep early on, let the Scottish Premiership giants have the ball for long periods, and look to take advantage on the counterattack and from set-pieces.

In truth, it's a risky ploy to sit back and soak up pressure even though behind in the tie, but with Celtic's lack of firepower, one goal should be enough to get a result. It's these tactics that may reward backers who take 3.7511/4 about the hosts, who have conceded just twice in three Champions League games this term, keeping a clean sheet.


To score

Elfsborg's chances in the win market depend on the willingness of striker Mohamed Bangura to perform. The Sierra Leone man, bizarrely, is on loan at Elfsborg from Celtic, but a stipulation in his contract means he's allowed to play and, potentially, knock the side that pays his wages out of the Champions League.

He carries a threat too, and has bagged six goals already since debuting in April. Football has an eerie habit of producing extraordinary stories and a Bangura goal would have the headline writers purring. He's expected to pass a fitness test ahead of the clash and backing him with small stakes to score at 2.89/5 (fixed odds) looks a canny play.

Best Bet: Back Elfsborg to keep a clean sheet at 3.7511/4
Other Recommended Bet: Back Bangura to score at 2.3411/8

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