Lazio were well aware that an early goal could set them on their way to qualification from Group E and the Eagles had a flurry of early chances. Gustav Isaksen first tested Joe Hart with a low drive, before Felipe Anderson’s powerful header skimmed over the crossbar following Mattéo Guendouzi’s cross.
After the early nerves subsided, Celtic found some rhythm of their own and began to look a credible threat.
The first man to give Celtic a newfound sense of purpose was Kyogo Furuhashi, who raced in behind the Lazio backline and bore down on goal, but the recovering Mario Gila Fuentes was on hand to make a well-timed interception.
However, the Bhoys struggled to regain momentum thereafter, and Lazio came back with renewed pressure late in the first half, with Nicolò Rovella and Luis Alberto letting fly from distance, but neither could threaten Hart’s goal.
With a first-half clean sheet in the bag, Celtic had a platform to build upon, and the Scottish champions emerged with a surge of positivity after the break.
Kyogo was involved again as his strike flashed past the post, before Yang Hyun-Jun then had Celtic’s best chance, when he rose to meet James Forrest’s deep cross, although the South Korean opted to head into the six-yard box rather than towards goal. Understandably, it was a decision met by deep groans of frustration by the 3,000 travelling Glaswegians.
Desperation set in for Lazio in the closing stages and it was the Eagles’ reliable poacher Ciro Immobile who struck the winning goals in a deadly three-minute spell.
Immobile first showed his attacking instincts by racing onto a deflected shot and tapping past Hart, before the veteran forward turned Liam Scales in the penalty area and tucked his shot into the bottom corner.
Celtic were awarded a late penalty when Patric clattered into Hyun-Gyu Oh inside the penalty area, but the original decision was overruled following a VAR review.
Once again, Lazio’s top scorer Immobile came up with the goods to keep his side in Europe’s premier competition, which will come as a huge relief for Maurizio Sarri following a shock 2-1 loss to Salernitana at the weekend.
Other than a strong spell after half-time, Celtic were generally outplayed and the Bhoys’ slim chances of reaching the Europa League play-off spot in Group E were dashed in the closing stages,