Liel Abada offside Celtic goal - why it was ruled out, the Kylian Mbappe comparison and confusion

There was a moment of confusion during Celtic's 2-1 win over Livingston on Wednesday night in the Scottish Premiership when the match was delayed for nearly four minutes.

Liel Abada pounced on a mistake from Livi defender Morgan Boyes after David Turnbull had helped the ball on with the Israeli firing past Ivan Konovalov, seemingly putting the Scottish champions 3-1 up and all but ending the visitor’s chances of getting back level. VAR, however, intervened and referee Euan Anderson eventually went to the side of the pitch to check the incident before ruling the goal out for offside.

Replays showed Abada to be in a clear offside position when Turnbull played the ball. The confusion surrounded the involvement of Boyes who stumbled under the ball with it bouncing off his head before the Israeli winger got possession and scored.

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The International Football Association Board (IFAB) state a “player in an offside position at the moment the ball is played or touched by a team-mate is only penalised on becoming involved in active play by: interfering with play by playing or touching a ball passed or touched by a team-mate or; interfering with an opponent by: preventing an opponent from playing or being able to play the ball by clearly obstructing the opponent’s line of vision or challenging an opponent for the ball or clearly attempting to play a ball which is close when this action impacts on an opponent or making an obvious action which clearly impacts on the ability of an opponent to play the ball.”

However, it is also noted that "a player in an offside position receiving the ball from an opponent who deliberately plays the ball, including by deliberate handball, is not considered to have gained an advantage".

For example, there was a high profile controversial moment involving Kylian Mbappe in the Nations League final in 2021. The French striker scored the winner in the 80th minute despite being played through on goal when offside. However, he became active when a Spanish defender was deemed to have deliberately played the ball back to the goalkeeper when trying to intercept.

In the Abada situation, Anderson will have decided that Boyes had not deliberately played the ball back towards his goal when he stumbled underneath. Therefore Abada was found to be offside.



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