All the talk ahead of this game seems to have been about the quality of the pitch at Qarabag’s Tofiq Bahramov Stadium. However, Celtic won their battle to play on the suspect surface before they face the Azebaijani side in the second leg of their Champions League qualifier.
The Bhoys are set to play a bounce game ahead of the clash, which should see them acclimatise to the water-starved pitch. Ronny Deila’s men head into this game with a 1-0 lead after Dedryck Boyata grabbed a late winner at Parkhead, leaving them the massive 1/7 favourites to qualify for the next round.
If anything the issues with the pitch should help the Scottish side. Their hosts’ playing style was compared to Barcelona’s by none other than Deila himself: “Qarabag play a bit like Barcelona in terms of keeping possession. They play a lot”.
If reports are to be believed then playing any sort of possession football is going to be a no go, a fact that is perhaps reflected in the lofty 4/1 price about The Horsemen ousting Celtic.
The job is simple for the reigning Ladbrokes Premiership champions, keep a clean sheet and they are through. That will most likely be the mantra when they take to the desert-like pitch in Agdam and it is something they are 13/8 to achieve.
An early goal would put the away team firmly in the driving seat and the obvious option here is that of Leigh Griffiths, who is 5/1 to break the deadlock. However, the Glasgow club looked a real threat from set pieces in the first leg and backing one of the defenders to get on the scoresheet could prove a profitable affair, with Virgil van Dijk 18/1 to notch first and Boyata a chunky 25/1.
Those fancying Celtic to be pushed by their opponents but ultimately come out on top will want to take advantage of Ladbrokes’ exclusive price boost, with a win for the visitors with both teams finding the net enhanced from 9/2 to 11/2.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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