UEFA Europa League

Shakhtar Donetsk 1 – 1 Celtic

Celtic endured a frustrating night in Warsaw as a resolute Shakhtar Donetsk side held them in a Champions League draw.

A deflected Reo Hatate effort had the dominant Scots deservedly ahead after just 10 minutes. But a blistering run and finish from Mykhaylo Mudryk levelled the tie before the break.

Celtic spurned several chances to claim the victory in the second half, with substitutes Giorgos Giakoumakis and Daizen Maeda missing opportunities late on.

After losing 3-0 to Real Madrid in their opener last week in Glasgow, and drawing here, Celtic’s tough start continues with a trip to Germany to face RB Leipzig in three weeks’ time.

Celtic were hunting for their first Champions League win in almost five years. You have to go back to 27 September 2017 for their last one – against Anderlecht in Belgium – and the path to victory was mapped out early for the Scottish champions.

On the eve of the game, both teams alluded to the fact Shakhtar, playing their group games in Warsaw due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, would sit deep and look to strike on the break – as they did against Leipzig last week in a surprise 4-1 win.

That approach was evident as the Scots poured forward with the energy and movement that gave Real Madrid an early fright last week, with the Ukrainians being suckered by their own gameplan after just 10 minutes.

A burst of orange jerseys sprung forward into the Celtic half only for Josip Juranovic’s true clearance to zip long to Sead Haksabanovic. The Swede’s control and pass to the in-rushing Hatate were perfect, with the Japanese darting into the box to squeeze a ball through the tightest of gaps of the sliding Artem Bandarenko and into the net.

Given Celtic had already gone close through Kyogo Furuhashi and Greg Taylor prior to the opener, they were in firm control as defender Mortiz Jenz’s half volley from a knockdown was then parried away by goalkeeper Anatoliy Trubin.

However, just as the Scottish Premiership leaders appeared in command, a blistering counter levelled the game. A neat ball inside Juranovic was latched on to by Mudryk. The strapping 21-year-old raced away from the chasing full-back and crashed a left-foot shot high across a sprawling Joe Hart.

It could have been worse moments later as Marian Shved, once the forgotten man of Parkhead, slammed the ball low under Hart at the second attempt. Thankfully for his old team, Mudryk was flagged for offside before a cute cutback.

Celtic dictated most of the play in a frustrating second half. Shakhtar’s flurries forward were much tamer, while their goal led a charmed life at times thanks to their visitors’ wastefulness in front of goal and savvy keeping from Trubin.

Jota was denied soon after the break by the goalkeeper, substitute David Turnbull arced a shot just over and Jota meandered his way through a glut of Shakhtar players before a deflected off-balance shot trundled out for a corner.

As the time ticked down, Celtic stepped it up again. Substitute Giakoumakis lashed wide when unmarked from 14 yards and Daizen Maeda hid his head in the turf in frustration as he failed to turn in a drilled cross in the closing minutes.

And, with only a few seconds left, Giakoumakis outjumped Trubin to head the ball goalward, only for an orange jersey to scramble it clear.

It must not be forgotten in the aftermath of this draw that this Shakhtar team thumped RB Leipzig only last week. Not only that, but this is the Champions League against a side much more used to this stage in recent years.

However, the Celtic fans slipping into the Polish night here will do so with a feeling of frustration. Their team were dynamic, creative and, most importantly, in the lead. It was hard to see them getting suckered. But Shakhtar did what they do so well.

Let’s be honest, this group is in a three-way fight for second place and Ange Postecoglou will be pressing upon his team the need to be more clinical. There were enough chances to have pulled away from the Ukrainians.

One point from two tough games is far from a disaster. But it’s crucial Celtic convert their dominant periods in these games into goals if they are to realise aspirations of knockout Champions League football.

Shakhtar Donetsk head coach Igor Jovicevic: “They are super fast and a super aggressive team and we knew exactly what we were about to face. The pressing, especially in the beginning, was incredible.

“They gave us a very hard time, but we were supported by 40 million fans in Ukraine and we claimed a point. This game is something to be really proud of. We turned the impossible into possible, we turned improbable into probable.”

Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou: “More significant than the point was the performance – and the performance was excellent. Obviously, the result was not reflective of that, but they gave everything and that’s all I can ask for.

“Obviously we need that second goal and we had good chances to get it. We’ll get our rewards if we keep playing that kind of football and showing that kind of commitment.”

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