HT: Lazio let Celtic back in


Ciro Immobile scored early on, but again Lazio threw it all away with poor finishing and even worse defensive errors, losing 2-1 to Celtic.

With Cluj beating Rennes 1-0 in the other game, the Aquile are practically out of the Europa League with three points from four matches.

Follow all the action as it happens from this game and Borussia Monchengladbach-Roma on the LIVEBLOG.

This was a must-win game for the Biancocelesti, who had been leading in both Cluj and Glasgow before losing 2-1 with a late capitulation. Joaquin Correa, Stefan Radu and Adam Marusic were injured, but Felipe Caicedo passed a fitness test to partner Ciro Immobile. Celtic were already on the verge of qualification and their only real injury concern was Boli Bolingoli-Mbombo.

Jony’s early volley forced a tricky Fraser Forster save, but Caicedo was offside on the rebound header. It was all Lazio early doors and they took the lead when Manuel Lazzari’s cross was flicked on by Caicedo for unmarked Immobile to volley in at the back post. It was his 101stgoal in a Biancocelesti jersey.

Celtic risked an own goal, as Christopher Jullien anticipated Immobile on a corner and nodded just wide, while Lucas Leiva waited for the perfect moment to tackle Mohamed Elyounoussi on the counter.

However, Lazio were repeatedly giving the ball away cheaply and were caught napping for the equaliser. Sergej Milinkovic-Savic tried to play out from the back, was caught in possession and James Forrest smashed his rocket into the far bottom corner from the tightest of angles.

The hosts fought back aggressively with a flurry of chances before the break. First Forster pushed a Milinkovic-Savic header round the base of the post, then completely missed the resulting corner and Jullien acrobatically cleared off the line, a move finished by Marco Parolo’s header over.

Edouard’s angled drive was comfortably smothered, then Luiz Felipe had to block the Forrest counter after a terrible defensive error from Lucas Leiva and the ball ricocheted around dangerously on the resulting corner.

Luis Alberto and Senad Lulic were introduced, but Caicedo was visibly nowhere near fit and didn’t even have the strength to challenge Jullien for the header from six yards when Milinkovic-Savic knocked down a cross.

Immobile had penalty appeals rejected when his shot was charged down by Jullien’s trailing arm as he slid into the block. Moments later, Forster’s gloves were stung by a Milinkovic-Savic header at the back post.

Denis Vavro made a decisive sliding tackle to stop Edouard going clear on goal, but Milinkovic-Savic’s strike was deflected over, then Luis Alberto’s in-swinging corner bounced directly off the near post and Lazzari blasted over.

Lazio were pouring forward, but risked being caught on the counter when Edouard fired wide with only Strakosha to beat.

Forster was again decisive on an Immobile angled drive at the near post, with Valon Berisha only nodding the rebound straight at the goalkeeper.

Luis Alberto made a sensational turn between two defenders to tie them in knots only to be denied by another great Forster one-handed save, as Milinkovic-Savic blasted the follow-up wide.

It was yet another repeat of every game in this group other than the win over bottom of the group Rennes, as once more Lazio took the lead, wasted chances and conceded late on to lose 2-1.

Substitute Berisha’s shocking pass was a gift to Edouard, who set up Olivier Ntcham for the dink over on-rushing Strakosha deep into stoppages.

Lazio 1-2 Celtic

Immobile 7 (L), Forrest 38 (C), Ntcham 94 (C)

Lazio:Strakosha; Luiz Felipe, Vavro (Berisha 82), Acerbi; Lazzari, Parolo, Leiva (Luis Alberto 58), Milinkovic-Savic, Jony (Lulic 58); Caicedo, Immobile

Celtic:Forster; Elhamed (Bitton 83), Jullien, Ajer, Hayes; McGregor, Brown; Forrest (Bauer 89), Christie (Ntcham 77), Elyounoussi; Edouard

Ref:Stieler (GER)

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