CFR Cluj vs CelticUEFA Europa League, KO: 17:55 Dec 12, 2019, Stadionul Dr. Constantin Radulescu
CELTIC's Champions League conquerors Cluj came close to igniting an early season crisis in Glasgow's east end when knocking the Hoops out of Europe's elite club competition back in August.
Yet, Celtic have come a long way since that 4-3 thriller at Parkhead with Neil Lennon's men now flourishing in the Europa League – where qualification to the last-32 was splendidly secured with two games to spare.
The Scottish champions gained revenge on Cluj on matchday two before remarkably going on to land a further nine points against Lazio and Rennes respectively,
Consequently, Celtic have cruised through to the knockout-phase and familiar foes Cluj can join the Glasgow giants in the next round should they pick up a point in the groups final set of fixtures.
Dan Petrescu's troops currently occupy second spot in the section with nine points, having won three of their five Europa League tussles to date.
Two of those victories came at this venue against Lazio and Rennes and avoiding defeat on Thursday evening will guarantee Cluj continental football come the new year.
The Betting Odds
The Betting Angles
Celtic entering this encounter as underdogs can be attributed this game being a dead rubber for the Bhoys and as such Lennon is expected to ring the changes following his sides Hampden Park heroics on Sunday.
Yet, even though Lennon is expected to rotate his squad, I still fancy Celtic to remain competitive against Cluj and I wouldn't be surprised to see Celtic get on the scoresheet on Thursday evening.
Celtic have scored in all but one of their competitive fixtures this term and they can be backed at 8/15 (William Hill) to hit the back of the net in this contest, however, that price looks slightly short to me and therefore I'm going back Celtic to score before the 71st minute at 5/6 (Bet 365) – a bet that would have banked profit in Celtic's last 12 outings across all competitions.
However, given what's at stake for the hosts I do expect Cluj to make the net bulge in their pursuit of the point that would send them through and with that in mind, I like the look of backing both teams to score at an eye-catching Evens (SportNation)
These two sides have shared 11 goals between them in three previous meetings this season and both teams have scored in Celtic's last two away days in Group E.
In considering which players may put the ball in the back of the net, I'm really attracted to the 9/2 (PaddyPower) that is available for Mikey Johntson to grab a goal here, however, I would be more inclined to opt for Cluj goalscorer given that the Railway Men, unlike Celtic, simply have no room for error.
Billel Omrani put the Bhoys to the sword whilst bagging a brace during Cluj's first visit to Parkhead this season and the Cluj number nine appeals at 12/5 (PaddyPower) to strike at anytime in southeastern Europe.
The French forward has racked up 13 goals in 27 appearances this term – including a late winner against Lazio – and Ormain looks overpriced to add to that impressive tally against a Celtic side who look set to rest their stars in Romania.
This UEFA Europa League match between CFR Cluj and Celtic will be played on Dec 12, 2019 and kick off at 17:55