Lazio have secured their spot in the Champions League knockout stages after securing an impressive 2-0 win over Celtic.
The Biancocelesti failed to find their footing in the first three months of the season and the recent defeat to Salernitana, who hadn’t found victory in the league prior to the Roman side’s trip south, raised further questions about the team and coach Maurizio Sarri.
The pressure was on the coach and his Lazio squad to respond on the European stage. A key win over Feyenoord before the recent international break put the team in a good position in Group E and they knew that victory over Celtic, and an Atletico Madrid win over Feyenoord, would see them progress.
In a packed Stadio Olimpico, the action kicked off and Lazio soon found themselves in the driving seat, having a few early chances from Mateo Guendouzi, Felipe Anderson and Gustav Isaksen.
Celtic failed to prove particularly troubling going forward in the first half, but the Biancocelesti’s inability to find a breakthrough left things goalless going into the half time break.
An early chance from Kyogo Furuhashi in the second half reminded the home side that everything could turn around in a flash, prompting them to tighten up and start controlling the match again.
In the 82nd minute of the match, with a 0-0 draw looking a realistic outcome, a searching shot from Isaksen bounced into the six-yard box, where a darting Ciro Immobile was waiting. The Lazio captain poked the ball past Joe Hart, putting the home side 1-0 up.
The Biancocelesti turned the screw just three minutes later when Immobile latched onto a lofted pass from Isaksen. He twisted and turned in the penalty area, carving out some space to guide the ball into the Celtic net, doubling his team’s advantage.
It was a much-needed victory for Lazio, who have secured a spot in the Champions League knockout stages and can now focus on climbing up the Serie A table.