KYOGO FURUHASHI’S hit-or-miss form is mystifying the Celtic fans this season.
The Japanese striker has claimed only two goals in 13 games since his breathtaking first-half hat-trick in the 9-0 landslide victory over Dundee United at Tannadice on August 28.
Kyogo has fired blanks in his five outings in the Champions League Group F encounters against Real Madrid (0-3), RB Leipzig (1-3 and 0-2) and Shakhtar Donetsk (both 1-1).
OH, NO…Kyogo Furuhashi looks exasperated after his miss in the 2-0 home loss to RB Leipzig.
The 27-year-old international hitman has had his opportunities, but has been unable to claim a solitary effort that would have been so vitally important in the team’s quest for progress to the next stage of Europe’s elite competition or, at least, a consolation place in the Europa League which would have ensured football in this arena after the turn of the year.
Kyogo saw the Ukrainian keeper divert a goalbound drive past the post with his foot in exactly one minute and 10 seconds of the match in Warsaw.
With the game goalless against RB Leipzig at Parkhead, the lively frontman sent a close-range header spinning waywardly over the bar with just the netminder to beat after being set up by a clever cross from Sead Haksabanovic.
DENIED…Kyogo Furuhashi sees his low shot in only one minute and 10 seconds deflected past the post by the Shakhtar Donetsk keeper in the 1-1 draw in Warsaw.
And Kyogo blew another massive chance against Shakhtar on Tuesday night with the score tied at 1-1 on the 63rd-minute mark. He was released by Giorgos Giakoumakis in a one v one with the exposed Anatolyi Trubin.
A goal at that stage would have changed the entire dynamic of the confrontation.
Alas, the attacker could only hit a tame effort straight at the advancing keeper and the moment was gone. Just like the European aspirations of Celtic some half an hour later.
Kyogo was removed from play two minutes after his miss and replaced by Aaron Mooy.
SITTER…Kyogo Furuhashi, with the entire goal to shoot at, hits a timid shot straight at Shakhtar’ shotstopper Anatolyi Trubin.
PARADISE LOST..the ball rebounds from the grounded Trubin as Kyogo can only look on in anguish.
He looked a sad figure as he came off the pitch. He did not need anyone to tell him he really should have planted the ball in the inviting net with welcoming space on either side of the shotstopper.
The Hoops support is witnessing a shadow of the player who exploded upon the east end of Glasgow with a scintillating hat-trick in the 6-0 league victory over Dundee on August 8 last year. It wasn’t a bad first impression.
Kyogo, a £4.6million arrival from J-League Vissel Kobe the previous month, terrorised opposing rearguards with his electrifying pace and his astute finishing.
Despite missing over three months of the campaign through two separate injuries, Kyogo still completed his debut term as the team’s top scorer with 20 goals.
Among that impressive haul, there was a double in the Premier Sports League Cup Final against Hibs at Hampden in December to present Ange Postecoglou with his first piece of silverware as Celtic manager.
ANSWER TO A PRAYER…Kyogo Furuhashi celebrates his strike in the 4-0 League Cup win over Motherwell at Fir Park last week.
Kyogo’s strikes went a long way to the team winning their tenth title in 11 years and he brought fown the curtain in style with two typical efforts in the 6-0 destruction of Motherwell on May 14.
He collected his eighth goal of the current crusade against the Fir Park team in the 4-0 League Cup success in Lanarkshire just over a week ago and the reflief he displayed at getting on the scoresheet that evening after four consecutive misfires was obvious to all.
This is not a damning criticism of one of Postecoglou’s most precious talents. Far from it.
We all know what a fully-charged and supremely-confident Kyogo can bring to this Celtic team.
He may have to be coaxed back to full throttle, but he WILL return. Some team will be on the receiving end of the Kyogo treatment, we are convinced of that.
The sooner, the better. Go for it, Kyogo!