Celtic’s European hopes ended in frustrating fashion after substitute Ciro Immobile’s late double denied them what would have been a creditable draw with Lazio.
Brendan Rodgers’ side needed to win to preserve any hope of progression in the Champions League, or even the consolation of a Europa League spot. And while the Scottish Premiership side were resilient in Rome, they struggled to eke out chances.
Lazio endured an exasperating evening themselves but ultimately could rely on the quality of Immobile.
The Italy striker flashed a deflected Gustav Isaksen cross past Joe Hart in the 82nd minute, then capitalised on a Liam Scales misjudgement three minutes later to cut inside Cameron Carter-Vickers and roll in a second.
The win was enough to confirm Lazio’s place in the last-16 after Atletico Madrid beat Feyenoord 3-1 in Rotterdam.
And it means Celtic’s meeting with the Dutch in Glasgow in two weeks will be a dead rubber for both sides, as well as the Scottish champions’ final continental game of this term.
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After that, they will reflect on a frustrating campaign and one undermined by red cards and lapses of concentration.
Celtic avoided the former in Rome, but the latter were again in evidence, even if there was an admirable doughtiness about much of their play. Too often, promising scenarios floundered on the back of a slack pass or split second of indecision.
Their best moments came early in the second half. Kyogo Furuhashi skidded wide from the apex of the area before Yang Hyun-jun inexplicably headed away from goal in the hope of finding a team-mate when an attempt on target was on.
That was as good as it got, with even a late penalty award – and the chance of a slither of consolation – overturned.
Lazio, out of form and in a bad place domestically, were similarly sloppy for much of the game, but the Serie A side possess a menace in the final third that Celtic lack.
Felipe Anderson, Taty Castellanos, Isaksen and Luis Alberto all spurned fine chances before Immobile removed his jacket and showed them how to do it.
He was the difference and ensures Lazio’s European adventure continues, while Celtic’s draws to a close.
Player of the match – Ciro Immobile (Lazio)
How do Celtic change record? – analysis
He scored at Celtic Park and he scored when the sides met here in 2019. But neither of those goals were quite as painful as Immobile’s late efforts on this occasion.
Lazio weren’t great. Celtic might have got a draw. They might even have found the win that would have extended their European campaign. But instead they were again left to rue a late lapse.
Rodgers’ Champions League record is now played 23, won four with Celtic, who are winless in their last 14 in this competition, losing 11.
This season has now gone, but there’s every chance they will be back next term. How do they find a way of being more competitive?
What they said
Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers: “In the last 20 minutes we looked like the team that could go on and get the result, but we gave away two poor goals.
“This group has gained more experience and shown they can compete in some games – but we need to add quality. That’s the glaring thing that stands out.”
- Celtic have been knocked out of the Champions League in the group stage for the second successive season. They last reached the knockout rounds in 2012-13 and they’ve now failed to win any of their last 15 matches in the competitiion (D3 L12).
- Lazio have won back-to-back Champions League matches for the first time since October 2001. This is also the first time they’ve kept clean sheets in consecutive Champions League games since a run of three between April-September 2000.
- This was the 26th game in a row that Celtic have gone without a Champions League clean sheet against sides from the big five European leagues, since a 2-0 win over Villarreal in December 2008.
- Ciro Immobile has scored eight goals in his last 10 Champions League matches. He’s the just the second substitute to score twice in a Champions League game for Lazio, after Marcelo Salas against Maribor in September 1999.
- Celtic have lost all seven of their away matches against Italian sides in the Champions League, failing to score in any of their last five such encounters.
- Lazio had 22 shots in this match, the most they have had in a single Champions League match on record (since Opta began collecting this data in 2003-04).
- Celtic’s Joe Hart made his 50th appearance in the Champions League, the first English goalkeeper to hit that milestone. He is yet to keep a clean sheet for Celtic in the competition (11 apps).
Celtic host Feyenoord in their concluding Champions League game on 13 December (20:00 GMT), but first they travel to Perth to face St Johnstone on Sunday (12:00).
- 4Gabarrón GilBooked at 90mins
- 65RovellaBooked at 50minsSubstituted forCataldiat 79′minutes
- 10Romero AlconchelSubstituted forKamadaat 84′minutes
- 19CastellanosSubstituted forImmobileat 61′minutes
- 7Felipe AndersonSubstituted forPedroat 61′minutesBooked at 89mins
- 2JohnstonBooked at 35mins
- 3TaylorBooked at 27mins
- 33O’RileyBooked at 71mins
- 28Gonçalves BernardoSubstituted forOhat 69′minutes
- 13YangBooked at 78minsSubstituted forTurnbullat 86′minutes
- 49ForrestSubstituted forJohnstonat 61′minutes
- Halil Umut Meler
Match ends, Lazio 2, Celtic 0.
Second Half ends, Lazio 2, Celtic 0.
VAR Decision: No Penalty Celtic.
Patric (Lazio) is shown the yellow card.
Attempt saved. Mikey Johnston (Celtic) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Liam Scales.
Attempt missed. Cameron Carter-Vickers (Celtic) right footed shot from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Matt O’Riley with a cross following a corner.
Corner, Celtic. Conceded by Mario Gila.
Pedro (Lazio) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
David Turnbull (Celtic) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Substitution, Celtic. David Turnbull replaces Yang Hyun-Jun.
Goal! Lazio 2, Celtic 0. Ciro Immobile (Lazio) left footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Gustav Isaksen with a through ball.
Substitution, Lazio. Daichi Kamada replaces Luis Alberto.
Goal! Lazio 1, Celtic 0. Ciro Immobile (Lazio) left footed shot from the left side of the six yard box to the top right corner.
Attempt blocked. Gustav Isaksen (Lazio) left footed shot from the right side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Mattéo Guendouzi.
Attempt missed. Luis Alberto (Lazio) right footed shot from the centre of the box is just a bit too high. Assisted by Manuel Lazzari following a fast break.
Oh Hyeon-Gyu (Celtic) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Mikey Johnston (Celtic) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Manuel Lazzari (Lazio).
Player of the match
with an average of 8.22
Squad number17Player nameImmobile
Squad number18Player nameIsaksen
Squad number9Player namePedro
Squad number32Player nameCataldi
Squad number6Player nameKamada
Squad number10Player nameLuis Alberto
Squad number19Player nameCastellanos
Squad number65Player nameRovella
Squad number8Player nameGuendouzi
Squad number77Player nameMarusic
Squad number7Player nameFelipe Anderson
Squad number29Player nameLazzari
Squad number4Player namePatric
Squad number34Player nameGila
Squad number94Player nameProvedel
Squad number5Player nameScales
Squad number20Player nameCarter-Vickers
Squad number2Player nameJohnston
Squad number1Player nameHart
Squad number8Player nameFuruhashi
Squad number33Player nameO’Riley
Squad number42Player nameMcGregor
Squad number28Player namePaulo Bernardo
Squad number49Player nameForrest
Squad number90Player nameJohnston
Squad number13Player nameYang Hyun-Jun
Squad number3Player nameTaylor
Squad number19Player nameOh Hyeon-Gyu
Squad number14Player nameTurnbull