Can Shakhther Endure Celtic’s Onslaught?

Updated: August 16, 2013


Match Preview: Shakhther Kargandy VS Celtic
Match Date: 18 August 2013 (local time)
Venue: Astana Arena

Shakhther Kargandy’s (Shakhther) awaited clash against Scottish champs, Celtic (The Celts), promises to be another sports betting spectacle. Shakther shall be entering the tournament’s play-off for the first-time, whilst the Celts will prove why they hold the Scottish Premier League’s record in goal scoring.

There is a possibility that Shakhther will pull-off another major upset, just like what they did to KS Skënderbeu a few days ago. Nevertheless, it is the Celts experience that will most probably help them survive the opponent’s home court advantage and eventually, advance to the tournament.

The Shakhther pride

Shakhther’s journey into the play-offs is not without any difficulties. When they faced FC BATE Borisov, the club that had its taste of last season’s group stage, Igor Zenkovich recovered the loose ball and scored the winning goal.

The club’s ability to recover and display their defensive maneuvers were even highlighted during their 2-leg encounter with KS Skënderbeu. And this is something that the Celts should be wary about.

The first leg saw Shakhther kept a clean sheet and scored 3 goals. Such important feat carried them through when they suffered a 3-2 loss to KS Skënderbeu. The latter converted 2 penalties, courtesy of Shkembi. But Shakhther’s Khizhnichenko quickly replied on the 38th. Tomic of Skënderbeu tried to add damage when he scored on the 59th, yet, Bayzhanov lashed his revenge when he netted a goal on the 67th.

Such capacity—the capacity to turn the tides to their advantage can be the club’s greatest weapons. The Celts should be on their toes. Shakhther has a reputation of dominating the first leg. And since the encounter shall be held in their territory, the Celts can only expect for the worst attacks and aggressive plays.


The Celtic experience
Celtic’s feat last season was far from being mediocre. The Scottish champs made it to the round of 16 alongside with other top caliber clubs such as FC Barcelona, SL Benfica and FC Spartak Moskva.

If they need to be wary of Shakhthar’s defence, the latter should also do the same. The club kept a clean sheet against Cliftonville and Elfsborg.

While Shakhthar develops a penchant for late rallies, the Celts is the exact opposite. They favor an early rampage and have a knack for protecting their leads, as shown in the above-mentioned matches. And there is a high possibility for Neil Lennon to go into such direction when they play in foreign territories.

Who has the edge?
Expect the battle to be a fierce one and consider the possibility of having a draw. However, if there is one thing that will most likely to happen, it is the fact that the Scottish champs are more exposed to surviving down the wire or high-pressured encounters.

Nevertheless, should Shakhthar waves the white flag, the performance and accomplishment is far from being ordinary. They are the first Kazakh club to debut in the tournament’s play-offs and they will certainly be, one of the favorites to look forward in the next season.

Photo Credit: Zimbio