Celtic

Unsung Hero: Celtic’s Hatem Abd Elhamed delivered strong defensive performance on his return to the team

Unsung Hero: Celtic’s Hatem Abd Elhamed delivered strong defensive performance on his return to the team

Celtic enjoyed a dramatic 2-1 win over Lazio in their Europa League group stage encounter last night, coming from behind to defeat their Italian visitors.

Neil Lennon’s team trailed at half-time after Manuel Lazzari fired an unstoppable shot past Fraser Forster in the 40th minute to put Lazio in front. [via Sky Sports]

Ryan Christie equalised for the Hoops midway through the second half before whipping in the 89th-minute corner from which Christopher Jullien headed the winning goal. [via Sky Sports]

Celtic still needed a stunning last-gasp save from Forster four minutes into stoppage time to preserve the victory and make it seven points out of nine from their Group E programme so far. [via Sky Sports]

While Jullien came up with the match-winning moment, the Celtic defender to his immediate right can also feel very pleased with his contribution last night.

Hatem Abd Elhamed was one of two Hoops players to come back into the team following last week’s Premiership win over Ross County, resuming his role at right-back in place of Jeremie Frimpong. [via Sky Sports]

The Israel defender was one of Celtic’s busiest players on the night, recording more touches of the ball (95) than any of his team-mates and recording 43 successful passes. [via WhoScored]

From an attacking perspective, he had two successful dribbles, and he was solid defensively as well, winning two aerial duels and three tackles, along with making two clearances and four interceptions. [via WhoScored]

Several reporters commended Abd Elhamed’s performance after the match. BBC Scotland‘s Kheredine Idessane said that he “had a fine game, solid in defence and skilful in attack, with some delightful first-half flicks and tricks”, while The Scottish Sun‘s David Friel awarded him a seven in his match ratings, saying that he “defended well and his pace was crucial as Lazio constantly looked to hit on the break”.

Ben Pringle of the Daily Express also gave the defender a seven, noting that he “fired in a couple of dangerous balls as he got forward at every opportunity and was superb defensively”.

In the Daily Record, Craig Swan saw fit to award Abd Elhamed eight in his player ratings, writing that he was “strong against the imposing [Sergej] Milinkovic-Savic” and “excellent until going off”, having been replaced by Nir Bitton in the 83rd minute.

The 28-year-old has started at right-back in all three of Celtic’s Europa League group games so far and, on the basis of last night’s performance, he looks set to be one of the first names on the team-sheet when the Hoops travel to face Lazio in two weeks’ time.

Will Celtic get to 10 in a row?

Yes

Yes

No

No

Celtic fans, what did you make of Abd Elhamed’s performance against Lazio? Tell what you think by commenting below!

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