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Malmö warm up for Champions League clash

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Malmö warm up for Champions League clash
Sweden's Malmö FF team after they defeated Red Bull Salzburg in the Champions League qualifiers. Photo: Andreas Hillergren/TT
11:17 CEST+02:00
Malmö are gearing up for a tough battle as the southern Swedish team head to Glasgow to face Scotland champions Celtic for the first leg of a crucial Champions League play-off round on Wednesday.

Malmö FF will be hoping to claim their Champions League revenge after last year's defeat at the group stages. The team was the first Swedish club in the tournament for more than a decade, but failed to make it to the quarter-finals.

But Malmö boss Åge Hareide, who led his side to the group stages last year, told the AFP news agency on Tuesday that he was confident his troops could improve the feat.

He spoke two weeks after his side defeated Red Bull Salzburg, who got the better of Celtic in last year's Europa League, in a dramatic play-off round.

“Salzburg are a better team than Celtic. Celtic are a good team. We have every respect for Celtic,” the Norwegian said.

His Celtic counterpart and fellow Norwegian Ronny Deila dismissed his claims.

“We'll see on Wednesday. That's when they have to show they are better,” the Celtic boss shot back.

“European matches are tough – you win or lose on the smallest details. We'll fight to show Hareide is wrong. The pressure is on him after what he said.”


Celtic coach Ronny Deila. Photo: AP

Celtic lost their spot at the top of the Scottish Premiership last Wednesday when a late penalty from their Kilmarnock opponents ended the match at 2-2.

And on Saturday, the Scots had raced into a four-goal lead against Inverness Caledonian Thistle thanks to first half headers from Swede Mikael Lustig and striker Leigh Griffiths before a second half brace from Stuart Armstrong.

However, errors at the back allowed Inverness Caledonian Thistle to halve the deficit and Griffiths conceded that Malmö would take advantage of any similar sloppiness on Wednesday.

“It's a warning. If we play like that in the Champions League we will be severely punished.(…) It is something we will look at in training during the week and make sure we sort it for Wednesday,” said the Scottish striker.

But Malmö footballer Jo Inge Berget, who played for Celtic in autumn 2014, warned that the club's supporters would give it their all to cheer their side to victory in Glasgow.

“Celtic have a good audience who loves and gives the club everything. There's an enormous pressure, especially for the fights that matter,” he told the Swedish Sydsvenskan newspaper.

The second leg will be played in Malmö on August 25th.

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