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Yes or No for Celtic in Europa League

18 กันยายน 2557, 4:45 น.
49 0

Yes or No for Celtic in Europa League

PARIS - Celtic face a tough trip to Salzburg on Thursday, the day of Scotland's independence referendum, while Everton host Wolfsburg and Tottenham go to Partizan Belgrade as the epic quest for the Europa League reaches the 48-team group phase.

The pick of the round however sees holders Sevilla host Dutch outfit Feyenoord in Group G with the pair boasting five titles between them in the competition.

Feyenoord beat Tottenham 4-2 in 1974 before their classic 3-2 win, at their home stadium, over Borussia Dortmund in 2002.

The Spaniards, specialists in the competition, beat Middlesbrough 4-0 in 2006, edged Espanyol on penalties the following season and also won on penalties against Benfica last year to go into the pot as champions.

This is the first match-day of the round-robin phase with the top two from each of the 12 groups of four qualifying for the knock-out phase, where they are joined by the third-placed teams from the group phase of the Champions League.

British bookmakers feel a Celtic win is even less likely than a "Yes" vote for Scottish independance, a national referendum taking place the same day which will massively overshadow the game, with the odds heavily stacked against in both cases.

Celtic bagged a 2-1 win over Aberdeen at the weekend after a rocky patch without a win since August 16.

New boss Ronny Deila was however able to field new signings Aleksandar Tonev, Stefan Scepovic and Swedish striker John Guidetti, on-loan from Manchester City, in their morale boosting win.

But pressure is mounting on the 1994 finalists Salzburg too, as their coach Adolf Hutter has overseen three straight defeats with club owner and energy drink magnate Dietrich Mateschitz looking for a return on his investment.

They lost their previous manager Roger Schmidt and star player Senegal's Sadio Mane to Southampton in the summer. Both Celtic and Salzburg however are expected to qualify from Group D.

In Group C, Spurs will put their stadium delay worries out of mind as Mauricio Pochettino takes his side to Belgrade.

A late own-goal denied Tottenham a win at Sunderland at the weekend as Pochettino called for a killer instinct against Partizan Belgrade.

Danish midfielder Christian Eriksen in a free, attacking midfield role has been on brilliant form for Spurs and Sunderland boss Gus Poyet described them as the best side they'd played this season.

Everton face Germany's Wolfsburg, who are as yet winless in the Bundesliga, and can count on new signing, the Cameroon striker Samuel Eto'o, coming back from injury for the game.

American World Cup hero Tim Howard sounded the battle cry for the Toffees with the keeper telling the club's own website: "The fact that the winners get a Champions League spot is a small incentive for me. Lifting that cup would be brilliant."

Russian league club FC Krasnodar suffered an unexpected 2-0 home defeat on Sunday at the hands of newly-promoted Ufa ahead of their Europa League encounter with French side Lille.

Azerbaijan champions Qarabag had a morale-boosting 3-0 win over AZAL Baku at the weekend but manager Gurban Gurbanov acknowledged that meeting Saint-Etienne in Group F would be another story. In the other match in the pool Inter Milan face Ukraine's Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk.

The final is in the Warsaw national stadium on Wednesday May 27, 2015 and Poland's representative in the competition is Legia Warsaw, who take on Belgian newcomers Lokeren in Group L.

Elsewhere Greek giants Panathinaikos face Russian big shots Dinamo Moscow, Germany's Borussia Monchengladbach take on Spain's Villarreal and Napoli host Sparta Prague.



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