This column will focus on the clash between Celtic and Braga, but the clash is somewhat diffused by virtue of the fact that the Portuguese side won 3-0 in the first leg and the Scots will need to play out of their skins in order to qualify. Braga showed they are a tough team to beat and it will be difficult to knock them out from here. Let’s take a closer look at the game.
Celtic – Braga
There is concern within the Celtic ranks after last week’s poor performance and heavy loss, which significantly decreases the chances of qualification. They didn’t look like a professional outfit on the pitch and clearly didn’t look ready which is why they lost 0-3. They didn’t really show any positive signs and qualification against this Braga side seems like an uphill battle. Central defender O’Dea (19/1 last season) misses again, along with midfielder Nial McGean, who is still injured. A huge loss is the absence of key winger McGeady, who wants to leave the club and is trying to negotiate a deal elsewhere.
Braga already have one foot in the door of the Champions League play-off round, as they would need to lose 0-4 in order not to go through. One week ago they looked fully ready for the set of fixtures to follow and didn’t present any concerns with their performance. The final 3-0 first leg result actually flatters them, not so much because they didn’t play well but because they were quite fortunate as they scored 2 goals after the 78th minute. Head coach Domingos is not expected to make any changes compared to the line-up that played the first leg.
SELECTION: I do not think there will be any problem for Braga to qualify. I think under 2.5 goals has the edge today given Braga will eb reluctant to play an open game.