Italian referee to oversee Celtic’s Champions League tie in Kazakhstan

Paolo Silvio Mazzoleni will be the man in the middle when Celtic face FC Astana in the first leg of their third qualifying round tie.

Genoa CFC v AC Chievo Verona - Serie A
In action: Mazzoleni, who first took up the whistle in 1991, has been selected for two Milan derbies at the San Siro in his career (Picture from Getty Images)

ITALIAN referee Paolo Silvio Mazzoleni will take charge of Celtic’s Champions League third qualifying round first leg against FC Astana in Kazakhstan on Wednesday.

The 42-year-old will be in the middle as the Scottish champions make the 3,000-mile journey to the Astana Arena in Central Asia (KO 15:00 BST, live on Premier Sports).

He will be ably assisted by fellow countrymen Gianluca Cariolato and Giacomo Paganessi, with Piero Giacomelli is the fourth official.

Mazzoleni, whose brother Mario was also a referee, began officiating in Italy’s top-flight Serie A in 2005 and became a Fifa-listed official six years later.

The Bergamo-born whistler, who is an antiquarian by occupation, has encountered Celtic before in their 2-0 defeat against Legia Warsaw at Murrayfield in August 2014 under Ronny Deila – before they were reinstated back into the competition.

He may be familiar to English football fans too after overseeing Swansea’s 4-0 Europa League qualifying win over Malmo in August 2013 and England’s 2-0 friendly defeat to Spain in Alicante last November.

Mazzoleni is considered to be sixth in the pecking order in his home country behind 2014 World Cup Final referee Nicola Rizzoli, Gianluca Rocchi, Luca Banti, Daniele Orsato and Paolo Tagliavento.

The Uefa First Category official handled 17 Serie A games last season and was the fourth official for Juventus’ 1-0 win over AC Milan in the Coppa Italia Final in May.

In February, Mazzoleni sent off three players late on during Fiorentina’s 2-1 success over Inter Milan in a match where there was no love lost – ironically played on Valentine’s Day.

It’s not the first time Celtic will experience the 30,000-capacity Kazakhstan national stadium after playing in the same venue in their 2-0 defeat by Shakhter Karagandy in the Champions League three years ago.

Brendan Rodgers’s side overcame a shock 1-0 deficit in the first leg to defeat Gibraltaran part-timers Lincoln Red Imps 3-1 on aggregate in the previous round.

Astana – Kazakhstan’s first Champions League group stage participants last season – beat Lithuanian side Zalgiris 2-1 over two legs.


Bobby Madden referee (Celtic v Aberdeen - 8th May 2016)
In charge: Madden, who was an additional assistant referee at Euro 2016, has been on the Fifa list since 2010 (Picture from Sky Sports)

Scotland’s Bobby Madden will handle the tie between Croatian side Dinamo Zagreb and Georgian outfit Dinamo Tbilisi on Tuesday night (KO 19:45 BST).

The 37-year-old will be ably assisted by David McGeachie and Sean Carr, while Steven McLean is the fourth official.

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