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Saturday, 17 November, 2018

Celtic can do double over Kazakh champs

Celtic celebrate a goal
1 of 1

Champions League playoff round second leg
BT Sport 2, 4.30pm Tuesday

Celtic have grown in stature since the start of Champions League qualifying and they can wrap up a place in the group stage with a second-leg victory over Astana in Kazakhstan.

The playoff tie was effectively decided when the Bhoys romped to a 5-0 success in Glasgow last Wednesday but Brendan Rodgers is not taking any chances and is expected to name his strongest available side.

That 11 will not include Moussa Dembele, who continues to recover from a hamstring injury, but the French striker's absence didn't hamper the Scottish champions in the first leg.

Celtic have found other sources of goals and Scott Sinclair has taken on much of the responsibility, notching doubles in the Champions League qualifying home games against Linfield (4-0) and Astana.

Two of Celtic's goals last week were scored by Astana players and the Bhoys claimed a five-goal lead despite posting only three shots on target.

The return match is likely to be tighter with Astana trying to restore some pride and demonstrate the qualities that got them past Legia Warsaw in the third qualifying round.

But Celtic, who had 63 per cent of possession in the first leg, are again likely to see plenty of the ball and have a good chance of progressing to the group stage with another victory under their belts.

Recommendation
Celtic
1pt 13-8 Betway, Hills, Sky Bet

Bet on this game at Soccerbase.com


Team news
Astana
Centre-back Yevgeny Postnikov was rated doubtful before the first leg but came through the match and is likely to keep his place in defence.

Celtic
Moussa Dembele (hamstring), Eric Sviatchenko and Dedryck Boyata (both knee) are out for the Scottish champions.

Key stat
Celtic have kept clean sheets in eight of their nine matches this season. 

Two of Celtic's goals last week were scored by Astana players and the Bhoys claimed a five-goal lead despite posting only three shots on target
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