Qualification for the European Champions League continues on Tuesday and Wednesday with the Playoff Second Leg matches. There were a couple of surprise results in the last round of games and the majority of the ties are delicately poised heading into the second leg matches.
FC Astana vs Celtic (0-5 AGG)
One match that is not delicately poised is the tie between FC Astana and Celtic. Celtic picked up a hugely impressive 5-0 victory at home thanks to goals from Scott Sinclair and Craig Forrest as well as two own goals on a night to forget for the side from Kazakhstan. Celtic will start the second leg as slight favourites and with Brendan Rodgers expected to make a raft of changes, this game could be much tighter. Despite that, I’m still backing Celtic for the win here.
Celtic to win – 8/5 (Ladbrokes)
CSKA Moscow vs Young Boys (1-0 AGG)
CSKA Moscow have been in the group stages of the Champions League for four years in a row and that looks likely to continue after a 91st minute own goal from Nuhu gifted the Russian side an away win. It was a heart breaking defeat for Young Boys and they will need to pick themselves up for the second leg on Wednesday night. I’m backing CSKA Moscow to pick up another narrow victory in this one though.
CSKA Moscow to win – 4/5 (Ladbrokes)
FCSB vs Sporting CP (0-0 AGG)
FC Steaua București turned in a determined performance in Portugal to pick up a surprise 0-0 draw despite being reduced to 10-men after Mihai Pintilli saw red with ten minutes left to play. Sporting Lisbon hit the post late on, but despite their dominance they could not find a way through a dogged FCSB defence. I’m backing them to get the job done out in Romania this time though as I expect their quality to shine through.
Sporting CP to win 19/20 (Ladbrokes)
Liverpool vs TSG Hoffenheim (2-1 AGG)
Liverpool were slightly fortunate to pick up a 2-1 victory out in Germany in the first leg. TSG Hoffenheim missed an early penalty, before Trent Alexander-Arnold scored a stunning free kick to give Liverpool a half time lead. Defensively Liverpool struggled for large periods of the match and Mark Uth’s late strike means Hoffenheim are certainly not dead and buried in this game despite the two away goals for Jurgen Klopp’s side. I’m backing Liverpool to pick up a home victory in this one though, but I don’t think it’ll be plain sailing.
Liverpool to win 8/13 (Ladbrokes)
4-Fold – 13.74/1 (Ladbrokes)