Preview: Celtic vs Inter (Europa League last 32 1st leg)

Preview: Celtic vs Inter (Europa League last 32 1st leg)
February 19, 2015 11:59
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Inter go into this game after back to back wins against Atalanta and Palermo respectively, which broke a 3 match losing run.

This fixture has a big history. Celtic became the first British club to win the European Cup when they beat Inter in the Final in 1967.

Inter got their revenge though, 5 years later when they beat Celtic on penalties in the Semi Final of the 1972 European Cup after two 0-0 draws.

Inter came through this year’s Europa League group stage unbeaten after winning 3 and drawing 3 games against Dnipro, St Etienne and Qarabag.

Celtic on the other hand finished 2nd in their group behind Red Bull Salzburg and despite beating Dinamo Zagreb and Astra at home were lucky to qualify after losing their last two matches in the group.

This is the probable Inter line-up according to Sky Sports and reported by

First of all they report that Inter will change formation from 4-3-1-2 to 4-3-2-1 for this game.

Handanovic should keep his place despite Carrizo playing in the cup competitions this season.

Jonathan, Marco Andreolli, Danilo D’Ambrosio and Yuto Nagatomo are all injured so Hugo Campagnaro could start at right back with the same central defensive pairing of Andrea Ranocchia and Juan Jesus, with Davide Santon expected to start at left back.

Marcelo Brozovic is cup tied after playing in the group stage for his last club, Dinamo Zagreb. Zdravko Kuzmanovic could take his place in a 3 man midfield alongside Freddy Guarin and Gary Medel.

Lukas Podolski is not included in Inter’s Europa League squad so it looks like Mateo Kovacic and Xherdan Shaqiri will play behind lone striker Mauro Icardi, who returns after a stomach bug.

Probable Inter line-up(subject to change): (4-3-2-1) Handanovic, Campagnaro, Ranocchia, Juan Jesus, Santon, Guarin, Medel, Kuzmanovic, Shaqiri, Kovacic and Icardi.

Bench: Carrizo, Berni, Vidic, Dodo, Donkor, Obi, Hernanes, Palacio, Puscas.

Some stats:

Celtic have a poor recent record against Italian opposition after failing to win in their last 7 matches against teams from Serie A.

Inter are on a 9 match unbeaten run in Europe and haven’t lost a game since a 3-0 loss against Tottenham on 7th March 2013. Since then Inter have put together 6 wins and 3 draws.

The 19th February is a special date in Inter history, with Massimo Moratti’s first game as President in 1995. Inter beat Brescia 1-0 that day thanks to a goal from Nicola Berti.

Player to watch: Mauro Icardi – Today is Icardi’s 22nd birthday and I’m sure he will be looking to score after missing the Atalanta game.

My Prediction: Celtic 1-2 Inter

Scorers: Stokes (Celtic), Icardi and Shaqiri (Inter).

Officials: (Hungary) Referee: Istvan Vad   Assistants: Istvan Albert, Peter Berettyan

Fourth official: Laszlo Viszokai   Additional assistants: Tamas Bognar, Sandor Szabo

Author’s note: Tonight is a massive opportunity for Mateo Kovacic, who really needs to get back on track after being dropped in the last 3 games. Of course, this will be a tough game but I expect a win and at worst a goalscoring draw to take back to Milan. I also fancy Mauro Icardi to score on his Birthday.