There was disappointment in Europe yet again for Celtic as Ange Postecoglou’s reign got off to the worst possible start as they were knocked out of the Champions League by Danish giants FC Midtjylland this week after losing 2-1 on Wednesday night.
The Hoops took the lead through Callum McGregor’s brilliant strike and appeared on course to go through to the next stage of qualification. However, a goal from Awer Mabil sent the game to extra-time and then Raphael Nwadike sealed the win for the Danes with a goal in the 94th minute, ending Postecoglou’s Champions League campaign earlier than was hoped.
While he was not the only Celtic player to struggle on the night, one man in particular who caught the eye for the wrong reasons was Ismaila Soro.
The midfielder only started 11 games in the Scottish Premiership last season and these early matches were a chance for him to prove to the manager that he deserves more playing time throughout the 2021/22 campaign. With this showing against Midtjylland, he is unlikely to get it.
He let Postecoglou down with his performance at the base of the midfield, as he failed to put out fires and win the ball back to kickstart Celtic counter-attacks, as the manager would have wanted his holding player to do in a 4-3-3 formation.
As per SofaScore, Soro lost 10 of the 14 duels he was involved in on the pitch. He won 20% of his ground duels and 50% of his aerial duels, winning four in total. This highlights the lack of strength he imposed in the middle of the park, as he was overpowered by the Danes, allowing them to take control of the game and ultimately, progress through to the next round.
He completed 40 passes on the night, out of 45 attempted. However, goalkeeper Scott Bain completed 52 passes between the sticks and this is another indication that Soro did not do enough to warrant a starting place in the midfield. The Ivorian could not win the ball back at a high enough rate and he did not get on the ball enough to dictate the play, which begs the question; what was he there for?
Not a lot, it seems. Postecoglou will surely be feeling let down by Soro’s performance and questioning whether or not he should be a regular member of the squad heading into the season, if these are the sort of displays he can expect from him.
The Scottish Sun’s David Friel published his player ratings from the game and was far from impressed with the 23-year-old. He said: “Snapped into challenges and was unlucky with a few soft calls from the ref but needs to be more composed on the ball. The Ivorian is far too slack. Booked… 5”
Friel is right, Soro wasn’t good enough. He let his new manager down on Wednesday night.