Report: UEFA confirm big Real Betis decision that boosts Celtic Europa League chances

By David Walton

November 16, 2021

UEFA have confirmed that Real Betis playmaker Nabil Fekir will miss his club’s next 3 European matches, according to Spanish outlet AS.

Fekir was sent off in a clash with Bayer Leverkusen’s Karem Demirby on matchday 4 of the Europa League. The incident also saw the Leverkusen man given his marching orders too.

Betis will take the trip to Parkhead on matchday 6 in what could be a do-or-die crunch clash to see who earns progression into the last-32. Fekir will now miss that match due to his ban.

Photo by Fran Santiago/Getty Images

Fekir has one goal and one assist in this season’s Europa League so far. He’s been a constant in Manuel Pellegrini’s starting XI too with 16 appearances to his name already this term [Transfermarkt].

His absence will be a big blow for Betis’ creativity levels on the night. Whilst the La Liga side are jam-packed with quality, Fekir has been central to their early-season success.

Celtic likely still need a positive result away to Leverkusen on matchday 5 to ensure they have a chance of progressing when Betis come to Glasgow.

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Real Betis suffer major blow, but Celtic still have a job to do

Pellegrini will of course find a way around the suspension. Betis aren’t 5th in La Liga because their squad is reliant on one player. They clearly have a lot more in their arsenal.

However, the news will undoubtedly weaken them. Fekir was a massive signing for the club back in 2019 and has been one of their key assets over the last 2 years. Betis wouldn’t likely called on him to make a big impact in Glasgow come matchday 6.

But that December 9th clash is still some time away. Celtic still have a major job to do in Leverkusen if they’re to make a success of the campaign. They can’t really look any further than that one at the moment.

Photo by Fran Santiago/Getty Images

Leverkusen have absolutely mauled their way through the group with 3 wins and a draw. They’re just another positive result away from topping the group, and that’s something that doesn’t bode well from a Celtic perspective. Any idea of them missing players or playing a weakened team should be swiftly put to bed.

Should we come away from that one with at least a point, then it doesn’t matter what Betis do on the same evening against Ferencvaros. The job will remain the same when the La Liga side come to Glasgow – just win the game.

And with Real now missing Fekir, it certainly gives Celtic a big boost for that particular clash.

In other news, What Ligue 1’s Marco Bizot has said on his future as Celtic link emerges

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