Celtic took on one of the Europa League favorites, Lazio Roma on Thursday’s matchup at Celtic Park. The sold-out stadium witnessed what Celtic boss Neil Lennon described as “Champions League quality performance”, as the hosts kept their top spot in the group with a brilliant 2-1 victory which took them to seven points in three games.
It seemed to be an evenly matched game from the start. Lazio took the initiative at first and was the slightly more attacking side in the first half. Their pressure was rewarded five minutes before the half time, when Joaquin Correa’s through ball found racing Manuel Lazzari, who struck the ball past Fraser Forster from close distance and led the visitors to 0-1 lead to finish off the 1st half. Celtic had the possession, if only marginally, but was unable to create a single shot on goal while Lazio forced Forster to a save twice.
The home team didn’t give up after going one down, though. Second half saw Celtic pick up the pace and take more risks – a brave approach that eventually paid dividends, despite also causing some turnovers and loss of possession; Lazio’s Joaquin Correa hit the post, but it was Celtic to strike next. On the 67th minute this season’s sensation Ryan Christie, who already struck the woodwork once, floated the ball over Lazio keeper Thomas Strakosha into the net. Christie received the ball unmarked in the middle of the bod from another breakthrough player, Odsonne Edouard. For a while after the goal it looked like that might be enough for both teams, while Lazio recovered and took possession of the ball but only managed to bother Forster twice in the second half.
If losing wasn’t an option for Neil Lennon’s boys, it appeared neither was a home draw. While Lazio created more chances, Forster and the defense kept their cool. Despite cutting back the pressure and risk-taking nearing the end of the game, Celtic pulled one more rabbit from their hat. Christopher Jullien rose above everyone else to nod in the corner given by Ryan Christie to send the fans into raptures and Celtic to a memorable 2-1 victory.
There’s no rest for the wicked, as Neil Lennon’s Celtic travels to Aberdeen on Sunday for a crucial Scottish Premiership fixture. Glasgow Rangers sit on top of the Premiership side-by-side to Celtic and every point can decide the title. Don’t miss out on Dafabet’s Celtic FC Prediction Challenge to win a free bet weekly.