CELTIC 1 WOLVES 1
KYOGO FURUHASHI proved he has lost none of his penalty-kick sharpness as he walloped in Celtic’s goal in the draw with Wolves in Dublin this afternoon.
It was a good work-out in front of almost 30,000 fans and the Hoops were denied victory after a contentious decision gave the Midlands club a penalty-kick with four minutes to go.
It took Kyogo only six minutes to show the menace that threatens defences everywhere when he opened the scoring.
And it was all the Japanese striker’s work after he won the ball on the left wing before delivering a pass to Liel Abada in the box.
Kyogo timed his run to perfection as he took the return from the Israeli winger before whipping a deadly right-foot drive behind the diving Jose Sa.
It was a typical strike from the team’s talisman and bodes well for the forthcoming crusade.
And the goal was well deserved after the crossbar denied his countryman Reo Hatate from the breakthrough goal two minutes earlier.
HERE WE KYOGO AGAIN…Celtic’s master marksman Kyogo Furuhashi celebrates his goal against Wolves.
Daizen Maeda did well to prevent the ball from going out of play on the left wing before cutting inside. He set up the midfielder with a clever reverse pass.
Hatate swept away from an opponent, glanced up and deliberately curled a right-foot effort over the stranded Sa, but the ball thudded against the woodwork and ricocheted to safety much to the English Premier League team’s relief.
In the 11th minute, the Hoops knocked on wood for a second time after Callum McGregor had carved open the Midlands team’s back lot with a clever and astute through pass.
Kyogo latched onto the ball and superbly lofted an effort over the helpless Sa, but, unfortunately, the effort struck the crossbar and once again the champions were denied.
The game was evenly balanced until the interval and Rodgers sent out an unchanged line-up for the second period.
On the hour mark, Kyogo slashed a drive wide of the target after running clear onto a free-kick from Matt O’Riley.
A minute later, the frontman and the former Danish Under-21 playmaker were replaced by Yang Hyun-jun and Kwon Hyeon-kyu.
In the 67th minute Ben McPherson came on for Stephen Welsh and Rodgers continued the changes shortly afterwards as he sent on Odin Thiago Holm, Oh Hyeon-gyu and Sead Haksabanovic for Hatate, Maeda and Abada.
Hart was rarely troubled, but still reacted swiftly to make a save at his near post as Wolves briefly threatened.
As the game ticked down towards its conclusion, young McPherson made an excellent challenge to block an effort, but five minutes from time the English club were gifted a controversial penalty-kick.
Matt Doherty made a theatrical dive as Hart came out at his feet and the referee bought the action.
Matheus Cunha sent the keeper the wrong way for an ill-deserved equaliser.
If only VAR had been in operation!
Rodgers will have noted a few areas where Celtic will need to be more aware, mainly in the middle of the park where their opponents were allowed to take possession and race forward without genuine challengers.
The encounter ended with Hart making a brilliant save to his left to repel a low drive from Cunha.
Lessons learned and the real stuff kicks off a week today when the Premiership starts when Ross County visit on Flag Day.
TEAM: Hart; Iwata, Welsh (sub: McPherson 67), Scales, Taylor; Hatate (sub: Holm 72), McGregor, O’Riley (sub: Kwon 61); Abada (sub: Haksabanovic 72), Kyogo (sub: Yang 61), Maeda (sub: Oh 72).