Well, well, well… After a week of apparent confidence from the Italian media ahead of the Lazio-Celtic clash in the Europa League, things have gone rather quiet on Friday.
Neil Lennon’s men travelled to Rome knowing that a win would all but guarantee them safe passage out of Group E, and while things didn’t get off to the best of starts when Ciro Immobile tapped a flicked cross at the back post, the Scottish side took full advantage of their opponent’s defensive mistake first through James Forrest before Olivier Ntcham dinked it over Strakosha right at the death.
As you might have imagine, the result was a bitter pill to swallow for the local press, and we’ll start with Rome-based newspaper Il Messaggero.
For them, Lazio ‘says goodbye to the Europa League’, not because it’s mathematically impossible for them to qualify, because they still can, but they will need a ‘miracle’, needing to win their last two fixtures while hoping for a CFR Cluj collapse.
There’s a bit of frustration at a penalty not being given for the ball touching Christopher Jullien’s hand off an Immobile shot at 1-1, but all in all, there’s a resignation that the fault is their own, exemplified by Valon Berisha exiting the pitch in tears after his wayward pass to Odsonne Edouard led to Celtic’s winning goal.
Over at Gazzetta dello Sport, we’re greeted with the headline ‘Another harakiri from Lazio’, referring to the form of Japanese ritual suicide by disembowlment also known as Seppuku, as the Serie A side’s European hopes ‘hang by a thread’.
Odsonne Edouard is lauded as Celtic’s best player of the evening, given the same 7/10 as Ciro Immobile, while the unfortunate Berisha is given a 4/10 for his mistake.
Corriere dello Sport, however, see James Forrest as the Scots’ best performer with a 7.5/10, referring to him as a ‘thorn in Lazio’s side’.
Off the pitch, there were sadly more incidents, with another Celtic fan stabbed on Thursday after the game, and it’s clear everyone on this side of the Channel will be glad these matchups are over, so maybe it’s time for certain Lazio ultras to put their hands down and use them to pray for their team’s qualification out of Group E.