The Israeli international had an eye-catching start to life at Celtic Park, but struggled to regain his place in the side following a long-term injury.
Lennon admitted in the week that the player hadn’t quite performed to expectations since his comeback, yet was confident enough to place faith in him for a match that they effectively had to win to remain in contention for group qualification.
Kayal subsequently rose to the occasion, scoring a supremely well-taken goal and putting in a consummate performance, as the Northern Irish manager once again displayed his gift for getting the best out of Celtic’s players.
2. Keane delivers typical riposte to Fergie
However, it was no real surprise that the Man United legend delivered his caustic response in a fairly relaxed fashion.
While Keane’s early football career was characterised by impulsive and ill-advised acts, the latter half of his playing days were equally renowned for a kind of icy control epitomised by his frequently intense pre-match expression.
His response confirmed that there was still no love lost between the two, nor is their once-strong relationship ever likely to be repaired at this point.
3. Never go back… unless you’re Jose Mourinho
Chelsea’s recent Champions League loss to Basel had the manager’s sternest critics already suggesting he may no longer be a good fit at Stamford Bridge.
However, much has changed since that disappointing loss, and now Chelsea appear in firm control of their Champions League group destiny.
Following tonight’s assured 3-0 away win over Schalke, they sit top of the group and still have two games to play.
Moreover, they’re also second in the Premier League, just two points off leaders Arsenal. Hence, all of a sudden, Mourinho is beginning to look like the type of miracle worker he’s often been portrayed as at various points in his career.
Furthermore, the ease with which they beat Schalke exposes the myth that the German league has suddenly become considerably superior to other teams’ domestic competitions, in light of Dortmund and Munich’s excellence last year.
4. Defensive errors cost Arsenal dearly
It has often been said that Celtic and (before their demotion from the SPL) Rangers suffered because of a lack of competitiveness in their domestic leagues, and some people have started to put forward a similar theory about Real and Barca now, in light of their demoralising semi-final exits in last year’s competition.
Nevertheless, the same point is almost never made about the Premier League, but it was surely relevant tonight.
And yet, the Gunners did acquit themselves admirably for large sections of the match, though two failures of concentration in defence ultimately cost them the game.
Aaron Ramsey probably would have been afforded time to dwell in possession in the Premier League for the first goal they conceded, while for the second, Dortmund broke far faster and in greater numbers than most teams who visit the Emirates.
5. Barca not at their best again
Not for the first time in the Champions League this season, Barcelona looked well below their best against Milan tonight.
Yet unlike with their similarly below-par performance against Celtic, they were this time partially punished for such ineptitude, only leaving the San Siro with a point.
Of course, Barca supporters will point out that they sit top of the group and will — barring a disaster of epic proportions — qualify for the next round.
Nevertheless, if they cannot raise themselves to their characteristic inspirational levels for these bread-and-butter games, there’s no guarantee they’ll be able to improve when faced with more taxing challenges.
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