Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Celtic: Abada was Ange’s hero vs Livingston

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Scottish champions Celtic restored their nine-point lead at the summit following a hard-fought 2-1 victory over Livingston at Parkhead on Wednesday evening, as Ange Postecoglou’s side continued the remarkable defence of their league crown.

Having had to wait until the closing stages to get on the scoresheet during Saturday’s victory over Aberdeen, the Old Firm outfit were ahead inside 23 minutes this time around courtesy of Ayo Obileye’s own goal, before Kyogo Furuhashi prodded home just before the break to extend that advantage.

That handsome lead was then swiftly halved in first-half stoppage time as Nicky Devlin sparked hope of a comeback for David Martindale’s men, albeit with it having been the hosts who appeared the more likely side to score next, as Liel Abada saw his late effort somewhat controversially ruled out for offside.

The Israel international had been particularly deserving of a goal having posed a constant threat down the right flank on the night, with the 21-year-old having fully justified his return to the starting XI ahead of Daizen Maeda.

Having been “excellent” off the bench at Pittodrie at the weekend – in the words of journalist John McGinley – the fleet-footed speedster continued that rich vein of form last night, having been a real livewire in his attacking berth.

The £15k-per-week ace notably played his part in the home side’s opener as it was his pullback which was turned in by the unfortunate Obileye, before producing an almost replica cross to tee up the aforementioned Kyogo for what would proved to be the game’s winning goal.

While it may be the Japan international who will appear the hero for netting the matchwinner, it was in fact Abada who proved most impressive for the Glasgow giants, registering two key passes from his 66 touches.

Not only a menace offensively, the explosive talent also showcased his willingness to put in the hard yards defensively after winning six of his 12 ground duels and winning three fouls for his side, showcasing his ability to match a relentless work ethic with an end product.

Although the 5 foot 6 dynamo did lose possession on 20 occasions in his bid to try and spark his side into life, the nine-cap ace still managed to record a solid match rating of 7.5, as per Sofascore, with that the highest among his teammates.

The icing on the cake would no doubt have been a goal of his own although VAR ultimately had other ideas, although nevertheless, it was still a truly heroic and eye-catching display from Abada to help drag the Bhoys to victory.

Numisteamone

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