George Tucudean plays and scores for Cluj ahead of Celtic tie

By David Walton

August 4, 2019

CFR Cluj have been given a boost ahead of their match with Celtic on Wednesday, after striker George Tucudean scored his first goal of the season yesterday.

Towards the end of last week, Cluj director Bogdan Mara told Digi Sport that he was hoping Tucudean would be fit for Wednesday night’s match in Romania. And it certainly looks like he will be.

Cluj hammered Chindia Targoviste last night in Romania’s Liga 1. Tucudean equalised just four minutes after the break. Further goals from Alexandru Paun and a Ciprian Deac brace secured the points in a 4-1 success.

Romania international George Tucudean should play on Wednesday night (Srdjan Stevanovic/Getty Images)

But it was Tucudean’s goal that will be the biggest boost for Cluj. He played for over an hour after having an injury concern over the summer. He also played in the closing stages against Maccabi Tel-Aviv last week too.

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Tucudean looks up to speed, however, and is likely to start this Wednesday. He bagged 21 goals for Cluj last season, and is Dan Petrescu’s top striker at the moment.

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There was a bit of positive news for Celtic in that Emmanuel Culio missed the squad that faced Chindia. Petrescu confirmed last week that it looked likely he would also miss the Celtic game. He would also label Culio as the best player in Cluj’s history (bzb).

Emmanuel Culio looks set to miss out this week (Nico Casamassima/AFP/Getty Images)

So it’s a bit of mixed injury news for Cluj heading into the match. Ideally, from a Celtic perspect, they would’ve been without their star-striker, but recent outings suggest that won’t be the case.

In terms of their domestic action, Cluj have gotten off to a flyer. They’ve won three of their four matches in Liga 1 and remain top of the table having yet to lose a game.

Dan Petrescu will be wary of Celtic’s threats (VCG/VCG via Getty Images)

Cluj will have had a representative at Celtic Park to watch the Hoops’ 7-0 mauling of St Johnstone, however. They’ll be all too aware of what the Hoops are capable of too.

Both sides remain unbeaten in competitive action this season heading into their qualifying match. Something has to give, but with Christopher Jullien and Jozo Simunovic available once again, hopefully Tucudean’s inclusion won’t mean much.