Celtic held Atletico Madrid to a draw a fortnight ago, what can they do in Spain?
The Celtic Tiger
We have reached the midpoint of this season’s Champions League Group Stage and there is still plenty to play for between now and December.
The Halfway Stage
Celtic may find themselves lying bottom of Group E, but their Champions League aspirations have been given a flicker of light after their showing in Matchday 3. Atletico Madrid served as the opponents that night, they will play the same role this coming Tuesday.
A frenetic 2-2 draw at Celtic Park has been logged in the European history books and it was one that saw Diego Simeone’s men finish the game with just 10 men. Not the biggest surprise when it comes to personnel left on the pitch, the same cannot be said for the result.
A result that means that Celtic have finally got off the mark in this season’s edition of the competition and after defeats to both Feyenoord on the road and Lazio at home, a hard-fought draw was almost the perfect response.
Almost but not quite and although Brendan Rodgers’ side managed to get themselves ahead on two separate occasions, the quality of Atletico meant they had the wherewithal to restore parity each time.
For Kyogo Furuhashi read Antoine Griezmann. For Luis Palma read Alvaro Morata. The formers may have been the hometown heroes, the latter can only be considered as world-class talents. That is the size of the task that the Scottish champions will be up against once more.
While the remit for Tuesday’s visitors will be the same as it has been since the Champions League draw was made. Progress to the Round of 16 would be the absolute dream, parachuting into the Europa League is more the reality.
Then again, for a second chance at European football at the turn of the year, Celtic are going to have to find at least a point from their trip to the Wanda Metropolitano. Whatever the formula was in Scotland, it has to be repeated in Spain.
A concept that sounds easy enough, but you only have to look at Celtic’s current domestic performances to know that will be easier said than done. They laboured to a recent 0-0 draw at Hibernian, they left it very late to get the better of St Mirren a week ago.
Top of the shop back home, propping up the table on the continent. The constant change of status is almost Jekyll and Hyde for this British football institution, one wonders if that may be their undoing in Madrid.
But now it is time for the first of my two tips and with a second meeting in quick succession, Atletico Madrid will be keen to solidify their own Round of 16 hopes. The best way to do that would be a win by two clear goals and this outcome is priced at 3/1.
In addition to this, I think both teams will manage to find the net. However, using the two-goal margin for Atletico above. I am going to offer up the correct score prediction of a 3-1 home win and this is priced at 10/1.