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Nov 5, 2020 at 8pm UK at Celtic Park
CelticCeltic
1-4
Sparta PragueSparta Prague
Griffiths (65')
Christie (75')
FT(HT: 0-2)
Julis (26', 45', 77'), Krejci (90')
Pavelka (51'), Sacek (71'), Krejci (90+2')

Preview: Celtic vs. Sparta Prague - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Thursday's Europa League clash between Celtic and Sparta Prague, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Celtic host Czechia outfit Sparta Prague in the Europa League on Thursday evening, with both sides looking to win their first match in Group H.

The visitors come into this fixture after a 3-0 away loss to AC Milan, while the Hoops secured their place in the Scottish Cup final last weekend with a 2-0 victory over Aberdeen.


Match preview

Celtic's Mohamed Elyounoussi celebrates scoring against Aberdeen on November 1, 2020© Reuters

Celtic have found it difficult to maintain their usual levels of consistency in recent weeks, having only won once in their last five matches in all competitions.

Having lost the Old Firm derby and drawn 3-3 with Aberdeen in the Scottish Premiership, the Hoops have also struggled in the early stages of their Europa League campaign, losing 3-1 at home to AC Milan before letting slip a two-goal lead in their Group H draw with Lille.

Neil Lennon's side did manage to secure their place in the Scottish Cup final last Sunday with a victory at Hampden Park and captain Scott Brown was impressed with the team's performance and hopes Celtic can keep their momentum going.

One man who has been in fine form for Lennon's side recently has been Norwegian forward Mohamed Elyounoussi, who has scored four times in three matches, including all three of Celtic's goals in the Europa League.

The Hoops come up against a side who sit bottom of Group H and a win for Celtic would see them move level on points with Lille, should the French side lose to the current group leaders AC Milan.

AC Milan's Diogo Dalot in action with Celtic's Albian Ajeti in the Europa League on October 22, 2020© Reuters

Sparta Prague have yet to impress in the early stages of their Europa League campaign, having lost both of their Group H matches.

The Czechia side however have had a brilliant start to their domestic league season, winning their opening six matches to sit top of the table, having conceded fewer goals than in their first two Europa League matches.

Manager Vaclav Kotal needs to find a way for his side to become more competitive when playing in Europe but understands that the quality of their opponents, in comparison to the teams that they regularly come up against domestically, is far superior.

Striker Lukas Julis is one man that Celtic will need to keep an eye on, as the 25-year-old has found the net six times in nine appearances this campaign.

Celtic Europa League form: LD
Celtic form (all competitions): WLLDDW

Sparta Prague Europa League form: LL
Sparta Prague form (all competitions): WWWWLL


Team News

Lille's Sven Botman in action with Celtic's Olivier Ntcham in the Europa League on October 29, 2020© Reuters

Winger James Forrest remains out with an ankle injury, while defender Kristoffer Ajer is also unavailable after suffering a groin strain.

Midfielder Nir Bitton may start once again as a central defender alongside Shane Duffy.

Goalkeeper Scott Bain is set to remain as Neil Lennon's number one after starting the last three matches in all competitions, which would see summer signing Vasilis Barkas remain on the bench.

Mohamed Elyounoussi, who scored twice in Celtic's last outing in the Europa League against Lille, is likely to start on the left-wing.

Ondrej Celustka, who started against AC Milan last week, should remain at the heart of the defence despite only recently returning to the side after a groin strain.

Defensive midfielder Ladislav Krejci II is back from suspension and could feature for the Czechia side.

Midfielder Michal Sacek, who has played the previous two matches at right-back, is likely to keep his defensive role in the starting XI.

Celtic possible starting lineup:
Bain; Frimpong, Duffy, Bitton, Taylor; Brown, McGregor, Christie, Ntcham, Elyounoussi; Edouard

Sparta Prague possible starting lineup:
Heca; Sacek, Celustka, Lischka, Hanousek; Pavelka, Travnik; Hlozek, Dockal, Krejci I; Julis


SM words green background

We say: Celtic 2-1 Sparta Prague

The Hoops, with a weakened backline, may find it difficult in keeping a clean sheet but should have enough quality going forward to score more than their opponents, who have already conceded seven goals in their opening two Europa League group stage matches.


Top betting tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting under 3.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Under 3.5:data

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Celtic's Mohamed Elyounoussi celebrates scoring against Riga in the Europa League on September 24, 2020
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Olympic medal table header
CountryGold medalSilver MedalBronze MedalT
ChinaChina21131246
JapanJapan175830
United StatesUnited States16171346
Olympics flagOlympic Athletes from Russia11151137
AustraliaAustralia1031427
Great BritainGreat Britain891128
Today's Olympic highlights header

Saturday's key events


TRIATHLON
· After silvers in both the men's and women's events, Team GB will be fancied to get on the podium again in the mixed relay (11.30pm-1am)

SWIMMING
· Touted as Michael Phelps's successor, Caeleb Dressel already has two gold medals from these Games and he will be going for a third in the men's 50m butterfly final (2.30am)
· It is Katie Ledecky vs. Ariarne Titmus III in the women's 800m freestyle final, with Ledecky entering as firm favourite (2.46am)
· Great Britain will be heavily fancied to add another gold medal to their swimming haul, having produced by far the fastest qualifying time for the mixed 4x100m medley relay final (3.43am)

ATHLETICS
· Dina Asher-Smith is one of three British women in the 100m semi-finals (3.01am-3.20am), and will hope to challenge for a medal in what is likely to be a star-studded final (1.50pm)
· The inaugural Olympic 4x400m mixed relay event concludes with Great Britain one of the eight finalists going for gold (1.35pm)

RUGBY SEVENS
· Team GB's dreams of an unlikely gold are still alive in the women's event as they face France in their semi-final (3.30am). The winners will face either New Zealand or Fiji in the gold medal match later in the day (10am)

SAILING
· Gold medals are up for grabs in the windsurfer - RS:X finals. Emma Wilson participates for Team GB in the women's final (6.33am), while Tom Squires is in action in the men's (7.33am)

TENNIS
· Following his shock semi-final defeat, ending his hopes of a Golden Slam in 2021, Novak Djokovic battles for bronze against Pablo Carreno Busta (7am)
· The women's singles event reaches its conclusion with the gold medal match between Belinda Bencic and Marketa Vondrousova

> Today's schedule in full
Todays Game Header Right
EFL Cup
Olympic Games Men's Football
Scottish Premiership
Pre-Season Friendlies
Portuguese Super Cup
Taca da Liga
Scottish Championship
Scottish League One
Scottish League Two
Belgian Pro League
Swiss Super League
Russian Premier League
Ukrainian Premier League
Swedish Allsvenskan
Danish Superliga
Finnish Veikkausliiga
League of Ireland Premier
Belarusian Premier League
2.Bundesliga
Ligue 2
Major League Soccer
Brasileiro
Copa Diego Maradona
Uruguayan Primera Division
Liga MX
Chinese Super League
Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1RangersRangers11003033
2St Mirren00001010
3Aberdeen00000000
4Celtic00000000
5Dundee UnitedDundee Utd00000000
6Hearts00000000
7Hibernian00000000
8Motherwell00000000
9Ross County00000000
10St Johnstone00000000
11Dundee000001-10
12Livingston100103-30

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