Scottish champions Celtic saw their hopes of securing a third-place finish in Group F go up in smoke on Tuesday evening, having been held to a frustrating 1-1 draw with Ukrainian giants Shakhtar Donetsk at Parkhead.
The Hoops had gone into the Champions League tussle knowing only a win could keep their slim chance of securing knockout stage progression alive – albeit in the Europa League – having only picked up a solitary point from their opening four group games.
It had proven the perfect start for Ange Postecoglou’s side as the Old Firm outfit fired themselves ahead just before the break through Giorgos Giakoumakis, only for a piece of Mykhaylo Mudryk magic to drag the visitors level on the hour mark.
Despite notable late chances for both Kyogo Furuhashi and Matt O’Riley – as well as an inexplicable blunder from opposition substitute, Danylo Sikan – the game ultimately petered out for a draw, ensuring the home supporters will have to wait at least another year to see their side in European action.
While the Bhoys’ journey on the continent so far this term has been littered with promising performances, far too often have the attacking unit, in particular, simply failed to deliver, with the Scottish Premiership side having now scored only three goals in the group thus far.
One figure who has notably underwhelmed both last night and throughout the tournament as a whole is exciting youngster, Liel Abada, with the 21-year-old having somewhat wilted on the wider stage.
The Israeli international endured an evening to forget against Igor Jovicevic’s side, enjoying just 26 touches and providing only nine passes in what was a largely anonymous display, having also squandered possession on 12 occasions in his 66-minute outing.
That limp showing – in which the winger also lost 86% of his total duels – saw journalist Conor Gogarty suggest that the emerging talent is “not good enough on the ball to play at this level“, having also recorded a rather measly match rating of just 6.1, as per SofaScore, with that the lowest of any player for either side.
As Glasgow Live’s Ben Banks noted, the £6.75m-rated gem is still ‘getting accustomed’ to life in Europe’s premier competition, having once again endured a ‘quiet night’ at Celtic Park.
While the eight-cap menace did play his part in his side’s opener after seeing his initial effort fall to the feet of the aforementioned Giakoumakis, he struggled to make a telling impact from the flanks, before being hooked in place of the experienced James Forrest.
For all Abada’s brilliance domestically – with eight goals to his name so far this season in league and cup – life in the Champions League currently appears too great a leap, with his average match rating of 6.45 only the 18th-best among his teammates this season.
The promising asset still has plenty of time to put that right in the coming years, although yesterday’s display was a reminder that he is still far from the finished article.