Zenit vs Celtic
UEFA Europa League
Date: Thursday, 22 February 2018
Kick-Off at 18:00 UK
Venue: Stadion Krestovskyi (St. Petersburg).
Callum McGregor’s lone goal made the difference between these two sides seven days ago at Celtic Park leaving the last 32 round tie wide open ahead of the rematch in St. Petersburg. Even though The Russians produced well in the group phases, they were just incapable of finding the back of the net against Brendan Rodgers’ stern defensive line and it will be very interesting to see if the Scottish champions can repeat such an effort on a cold evening in Russia.
The hosts are 1.55 favs to clinch the win in the rematch even though they’ve shown signs of vulnerabilities losing two of last four home matches in the domestic league. Things did look completely opposite in Europa League’s group stages where Roberto Mancini’s men 3ased their way to topping the group with three wins in three home fixtures in the process. This included an impressive attacking showing in the 3-1 win over Spanish Real Sociedad.
Aleksandr Kokorin has been the standout performer in this term of Europa League for Zenit. The Russian striker has bagged an impressive tally of eight goals so far in the competition and he will no doubts be the main threat for the Bhoys in the second leg at Stadion Krestovskyi. Given that Celtic’s away form has been anything but impressive of late (only two wins in last six away matches in the Premiership), we do have reasons to expect the pleasant evening for the home team fans & Aleksandr Kokorin here.
Zenit vs Celtic: Head-to-head
Despite the fact that both of these sides have been regulars in European competitions over the years, this will only be their second ever head to head meeting.
Zenit vs Celtic: Prediction
Mancini’s men will hardly reach the runaway leaders Lokomotiv Moscow who are eight points clear at the top of the Russian Premier League standings, and a failure here could mark an entirely unsuccessful season for Zenit.
With highly-motivated hosts and Celtic’s shady spell of form in recent league outings in the Premiership, we’ll go with Zenit to win as the main betting call at 1.55.
Alternatively, Aleksandr Kokorin can be backed as the anytime goalscorer at the odds of 2.00.