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  • Writer's pictureDag Jenkins

Ciro blesses Celtic twice in Rome

Updated: Dec 16, 2023

Champions League, Group Stage, Game 5

Tuesday, November 7, 2023

Stadio Olimpico, Rome

Lazio Celtic 2-0

Two late goals by replacement Immobile win game and qualify Lazio to the last 16 of Champions League 

Official SS Lazio Photo

The Team

Sarri made some changes following the bad league defeat the previous Saturday at Salerno. In defence he had few alternatives to Ivan Provedel, Adam Marusic, Patric and Mario Gila as both Alessio Romagnoli and Nicolò Casale were out injured. In fact, even the keeper had been in doubt in the morning due to a temperature but he then recovered just in time. In midfield he went for Luís Alberto, who had been suspended in Salerno, Nicolò Rovella and Matteo Guendouzi. The main surprises came in attack. With Mattia Zaccagni unavailable, the chosen three were Gustav Isaksen, Taty Castellanos and Felipe Anderson.


Celtic had some absences too. Brendan Rogers had to do without forward Daizen Maeda suspended, plus forward Liel Abada and midfielder Reo Hatate both out injured. The three up front were James Forrest (already on target against Lazio in Rome), Kyogo Furuhashi and Hyun-jun Yang.


Both sides needed a win tonight. Lazio to have a realistic chance of qualifying for the last 16 while the Scots with a win in Rome, a home win against Feyenoord in the next match and a favourable combination of other results still had an eye on the Europa League slot.


First half

A good crowd turned up at the Olimpico for this potentially decisive match. Despite the early kick-off, especially for Latin habits, there were about 50,000 Laziali and 4,000 Bhoys present.


The first shot at goal came in the 5th minute and it was for the Glaswegian visitors. Akexandro Bernardo passed to Furuhashi just outside the box and the Japanese tried his luck with a low left footed strike but it lacked power and Provedel dived down to his right and blocked.


If anyone thought it was the beginning of a daring onslaught by Celtic they were mistaken. From now on it was mainly Lazio.


In the 10th minute came the Biancocelesti's biggest chance, following a good team move Guendouzi crossed into the left side of the area where Felipe Anderson's diving header bounced and went just wide.


In the 15th minute Gila saved a potential threat when he anticipated both Provedel and Furuhashi and then Patric cleared.


There followed a long period of Lazio supremacy but with only long range shots and all off target. Rovella in particular showed he still had to refine his shooting skills. In the 40th minute Luís Alberto had a low shot but it was central and comfortably saved by Hart. Half time Lazio 0 Celtic 0.


A disappointing and poor level first 45 minutes for both sides, considering the importance of a win this evening.


Second half

There were no tactical changes for the second half but the Scots started off more positively. In the 48th minute, after a long ball forward from their own half and some hesitant Lazio defending, O'Riley teed up Furuhashi inside the box on the right and the Japanese drilled a cross goal effort which went just wide of the left post. 


Again it was a flash in the pan for the Hoops and Lazio gained control after the scare. In the 59th minute a clever through ball by Anderson found Isaksen who cut behind the static Scottish defence on the left but his low left foot trickled just wide of the right post.


In the 61st minute came three substitutions, two for Lazio and one for Celtic. For the Biancocelesti Pedro came on for Felipe Anderson and Ciro Immobile replaced Taty Castellanos. For the visitors Mikey Johnston came on for Forrest.


In the 69th minute a Cameron Carter-Vickers header from a corner forced Provedel into an acrobatic save, which however seemed more for the cameras than anything. Lazio continued to have shots off target, Marusic in particular had a reasonable effort but with the same result.


More substitutions followed, in the 69th Oh Hyeon-gyu for Bernardo and in the 79th Danilo Cataldi for Rovella. More substitutions than chances so far.


Lazio then had a big opportunity in the 80th minute and it would have been a great goal. Manuel Lazzari burst out of his own half anticipating Mikey Johnston and surged down the right wing, he then squared inside to Immobile who dummied at the edge of the box and the ball reached Luís Alberto, the Spaniard then took it forward slightly but then fired his right foot just over the bar. A great move but again off target.


In the 82nd minute Lazio scored with a stroke of luck and a quality striker. Guendozi found Isaksen on the right side of the box, the Dane cut inside and tried his luck with a curling effort, the ball however was deflected and spun across to the left post where Immoblile pounced and stabbed a left footed finish inside the far top corner, wrong footing Hart. Lazio 1 Celtic 0.


A crucial goal for Lazio who went forward on the waves of enthusiasm. In the 85th minute Isaksen scooped a ball over the defence into the area on the right where Immobile won a shoulder challenge and then twisted and turned inside and let off a low, left foot inside the near post. Lazio 2 Celtic 0.


The King was back and in two minutes had given a lesson in how to score goals.


Just before Immobile's double, Daichi Kamada had replaced a hobbling Luis Alberto and just after David Turnbull came on for Yang.


The game was won but in the 3rd and in theory last minute of injury time came a last bit of drama. First Mikey Johnston cut inside from the left and drilled a good shot that was parried well by Provedel. Then on the subsequent cross by Alistair Johnston into the heart of the area, Provedel jumped up and with his second attempt blocked the ball. Twenty seconds to go and surely game over. Not for the referee who inexplicably pointed to the penalty spot. He had seen a push by Patric on Hyeon-gyu before the South-Korean had jumped up to challenge Provedel.


It was such a ridiculous decision that the VAR room were forced to call the Turk to tell him maybe it was better if he had a quick check at the monitor. He did and what he had seen as push was in fact a slight tickle at the worst. No penalty.


Final score Lazio 2 Celtic 0. A low quality game decided by a top striker. 


In the evening game that followed Lazio legend Diego "El Cholo" Simeone's Atletico Madrid did what everyone hoped and beat Feyenoord 3-1 in Rotterdam. Lazio were through to the last 16 of Champions League! Whether in 1st or 2nd place would now be decided in Madrid in two weeks time against the Colchoneros.


A place in the top 16 teams in Europe is however a huge achievement for Lazio considering their budget. The Biancocelesti are fighting far above their weight but now dream of fighting on.


Celtic meanwhile are out of Europe completely but will surely be back next year after dominating another Scottish domestic season (clearly a blessing in disguise).

Who played for Lazio

Provedel, Marusic, Patric, Gila, Lazzari, Guendouzi, Rovella (79' Cataldi), Luis Alberto (84' Kamada), Isaksen, Castellanos (61' Immobile), F.Anderson (61' Pedro)

Substitutes: Sepe, Magro, Pellegrini, Hysaj, Ruggeri

Manager: Sarri


Who played for Celtic 

Hart, Johnston, Scales, Carter-Vickers, Taylor, O'Riley, McGregor, Bernardo (69' Hyeon-gyu), Forrest (61' Johnston), Furuhashi, Yang (86' Turnbull)

Substitutes: Bain, Morrison, Lagerbielke, Phillips, Ralston, Welsh, Holm

Manager: Rogers


Referee: Meler (Turkey)

Goals: 82' Immobile, 85' Immobile


Yellow Cards: Taylor (C), Johnston (C), Rovella (L), O'Riley (C ), Yang (C ), Pedro (L), Patric (L)




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