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RSC Anderlecht welcome Celtic FC to Brussels for the first time on Tuesday knowing they cannot afford to be generous hosts.
Still to win
Hugo Broos's side have taken a solitary point from their opening two games in Group A, their hopes of a morale-boosting win on Matchday 2 having been ended by Roque Santa Cruz's late equaliser in a 1-1 home draw with FC Bayern München. That result only intensified the pressure on the Belgian club, who are aiming for at least third place (and UEFA Cup qualification) in a section that also includes Olymique Lyonnais.
"The result of this match will decide if we have a sporting goal for the next few months or if we just play for the money," said Broos, who regards Anderlecht's double-header against the Scottish team as key to their European season. "The two matches against Celtic will be important. If we win here and bring back a point from Glasgow, we have a good chance of securing third place."
A team effort
Anderlecht at least returned to winning ways in the Belgian First Division on Saturday, with Friday's 1-0 victory at R. Charleroi SC keeping them five points clear of the chasing pack. However, Broos admitted that Celtic would be a tougher proposition. "Celtic are a very good team, and I stress the word 'team'."
More of the same
Having observed the Glaswegians' recent derby win over Rangers FC, he added: "I expect them to play like they did against Rangers - very well organised, with a lot of players behind the ball and speculating on the counterattack. We will have to play well, not for 45 or 60 minutes, but for the full 90 minutes."
With Olivier Doll and Ki-Hyeon Seol sidelined, Broos could also be without central defenders Hannu Tihinen and Glen De Boeck through injury. Youngsters Vincent Kompany and Lamine Traore are available deputies. However, the coach was confident his "team and supporters could find a solution". "In the past we have proved that we can do something extra if we have to win. On paper Celtic might be slight favourites, but nothing happens on paper, it happens on the pitch," he said.
Celtic manager Martin O'Neill might bear that in mind when he deliberates over a team-sheet that could be missing such names as Chris Sutton, Alan Thompson and Stanislav Varga as well as Johan Mjällby and Joos Valgaeren. "Alan and Chris are going to train tonight," O'Neill said at his Monday press conference. Thompson and Varga picked up injuries in Saturday's 5-0 Scottish Premier League defeat of Heart of Midlothian FC, while Sutton missed the game with a hamstring problem.
'A difficult game'
Like Anderlecht, Celtic lead their domestic table and, according to O'Neill, are "going into the game with confidence" after the emotive Matchday 2 win against Lyon. "We have been playing well but they are an experienced side and this will be a difficult game. From what I have heard they were unfortunate not to have beaten Bayern so we know how difficult this one's going to be."
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