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Betis – Celtic Pick: 1 ODD: 1.70 FT: 4:3
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A solid sixth-place finish in La Liga (LL) last season earned Real Betis a spot in this campaign’s UEFA Europa League (UEL), and they come into this opening game looking to protect an impressive UEL group stage record. They’ve only lost one of their 12 previous group stage matches in the competition (W5, D6), keeping a standout eight clean sheets in that time.
The Spanish outfit also stopped their opponents on the day from netting more than a single goal in any of those encounters, which is something they’ve done in all four of their league matches so far this season too (W1, D2, L1). Although those domestic results have been a little underwhelming,
they’ll still be favourites to progress into the knockout phase for the third time in their third UEL appearance, especially if they start with a win here.
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Although Celtic got back to winning ways at the weekend after two competitive losses, their European record against Spanish opposition will be an immediate concern. They’ve lost their last six major UEFA European matches against LL teams by an aggregate score of 19-1!
However, the former European champions’ recent UEL record should ease concerns of a guaranteed repeat, because although they suffered a defeat in their most recent UEL match, that was their first loss across their last five competition games (W4). The Glasgow side can also impressively score in a 15th straight UEL clash if they breach the Betis goal here.
Players to watch: Betis forward Sergio Canales scored at the weekend, and he netted the winner in his side’s last UEL home win back in November 2018. Celtic’s Albian Ajeti will be itching to get back on the pitch and add to his impressive brace from the weekend.
Hot stat: Celtic have failed to win any of their previous 18 European away matches vs Spanish opposition (D3, L15).