Three key battles that will decide Astana v Celtic

Where the game will be won and lost.

Scott Brown will look to get the better of Roger Canas. Picture: SNS
Scott Brown will look to get the better of Roger Canas. Picture: SNS

Roger Canas v Scott Brown

Canas has already got one over Brown in Kazakhstan. The Colombian goal threat was a member of the Shakhter Karagandy side which beat Celtic 2-0 in the first leg of their Champions League play-off in 2013 and his intelligent use of the ball can hurt opponents. 
The 31-year-old Brown hasn’t produced a truly memorable performance in Europe since the 2-1 home win over Spartak Moscow four years ago. Injuries have reduced his effectiveness as a box-to-box player but the captain will want to show Brendan Rodgers he is still capable of leading by example.

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Junior Kabananga v Mikael Lustig

At 6ft 3in, the Ghanaian is two inches taller than the Dane who will be trying to stop him. The former Anderlecht target man is quicker than he looks and scores regularly in domestic competition but, tenties in, he has yet to break his duck in Europe.

With Erik Sviatchenko joining Dedryck Boyata and Jozo Simunovic on the casualty list, the Swedish full-back is set to reprise the role he filled in last week’s 3-0 win over Lincoln Red Imps. He will find this a much sterner test, however.

Marin Anicic v Moussa Dembele

The Bosnia and Herzegovina centre-back will be making his 30th appearance in Europe tonight and the teak-tough 26-year-old showed that he needs watching in both penalty areas when he scored Astana’s goals in their 2-1 victory over Zalgiris Vilnius in the last round.

Dembele has yet to find the net in six attempts since his £500,000 summer move from Fulham and has, if anything, appeared to be trying too hard. He needs a goal for his confidence – and for manager Brendan Rodgers to persevere with him as the focal point of his attack.