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Celtic FC v Benfica Champions League preview - Hoops have a tough opener

Victor Wanyama of Celtic celebrates after scoring during the UEFA Champions League Play Off Round between Celtic and Helsingborgs IF at Celtic Park. (credit: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
Celtic FC may have been the first British side to win the Champions League in 1967 but they have their work cut out to qualify from Group G this season.

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Group G consists of the Bhoys, four time winners Barcelona, Russian side Spartak Moscow and two-time holders Benfica from Portugal - meaning it will not be easy.

The Hoops created history 45 years ago when they defeated Inter Milan in 2-1 in Lisbon, but it does not look likely that they will every get close to repeating that feat.

Neil Lennon’s men are the current Scottish Premier League champions and they entered this competition in the third round qualifying stage and they have looked great in front of goal.

They managed a 4-1 aggregate win over HJK, before sealing a 4-0 victory over two legs against Helsingborg to reach the Group Stages.

Benfica, who finished runners-up in the Portugal Liga Sagres, have a better pedigree in Europe’s elite tournaments and did not have to participate in the qualifying rounds.

These two have met on four occasions in the Champions League with their last meeting coming in 2007-08 in Group D with Celtic winning their home tie 1-0 with Benfica doing the same in Portugal. The Hoops qualified for the next stage by finishing second in the Group behind AC Milan with Benfica coming third.

The Bhoys are on offer at 17/2 with Bet365 to take this opener at Parkhead 1-0, while Benfica can be backed at 6/1 for the same outcome.

Benfica are the favourites to secure all three points with Bet365 laying odds of 11/10, while the draw and a win for Celtic is available at 12/5.
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Celtic FC v Benfica Champions League preview - Hoops have a tough opener

Celtic FC may have been the first British side to win the Champions League in 1967 but they have their work cut out to qualify from Group G this season.

Read more »