Europa League - Group E
Celtic2Lazio1

Celtic 2-1 Lazio: Christopher Jullien header seals priceless win

Celtic v Lazio
Christopher Jullien's towering header snatched victory for Celtic

Christopher Jullien glanced in a towering header two minutes from time as Celtic came from behind to earn a potentially priceless Europa League win against Lazio.

Trailing to Manuel Lazzari's opener, Celtic faced slipping to third in the group with a trip to Rome to come. However, Ryan Christie swept in the equaliser with 23 minutes remaining before Jullien rose highest to head in.

And, in a frantic finish, Fraser Forster's stunning stop denied Danilo Cataldi to keep Celtic top of Group E.

The victory, coupled with Cluj's 1-0 win in Rennes, means Neil Lennon's side lead the way with seven points from three games, a point ahead of the Romanian champions.

Lazio are a further three points back, with Rennes propping up the section with just one point so far.

Breathless Celtic walk tactical tightrope

Much of the build-up had focused on the subject of racism after Lazio were ordered to close four sections of the Stadio Olimpico for the return match against Celtic in two weeks after racist behaviour in their previous match against Rennes.

Neil Lennon said he would support his players if they walked off in the face of abuse, and midfielder Christie echoed those sentiments, and when a section of Lazio fans were pictured making fascist salutes in Glasgow pre-match there was apprehension of another disturbing night. But, thankfully, the focus became the hugely absorbing tactical battle on the pitch.

This display perfectly illustrated Celtic's approach under Lennon. It's a high risk, high-reward strategy which involves commendable commitment to fast-paced attack and a high press which causes teams problems, but also leaves them regularly exposed.

On the evidence of the first half, it would have been described as naive, given how a much-changed Lazio side expertly absorbed Celtic's fast start, while patiently waiting for their own opportunity to strike, and when it came they ruthlessly exposed their over-zealous hosts.

As Christie rifled a shot into two defenders, Celtic's left-back Boli Bolingoli was entering the Lazio box and, seconds later, Joaquin Correra slipped through Lazzari, who finished brilliantly across Forster having bust a gut to occupy the precise spot where Bolingoli - or at least a covering midfielder- ought to have been.

There was no evidence of a change of approach initially after the break, and the opening 15 minutes of the second period yielded more of the same. The definition of madness is how one might have reflected at the time. But as Celtic continued to pour forward, the madness increasingly came with method.

Moments before Christie beautifully side-footed the equaliser past Thomas Strakosha, the Scotland midfielder had been denied by the Lazio goalkeeper after he and Mohamed Elyounoussi's ferocious pressing gave Odsonne Edouard the opportunity to set him up.

When Edouard did the same for the leveller, Celtic were building momentum and Lazio, so composed in defence for 60 minutes, looked rattled.

But the hosts' vulnerability never vanished. Correra rattled a post at 1-0 after Lazio countered and Forster pulled off two incredible stops to first deny Marco Parolo from putting Lazio back in front and then Cataldi from equalising in the dying seconds. Celtic were walking the thinnest of tightropes.

But surviving those late scares, coupled with Jullien's towering, thundering header, meant it was a night where Celtic can reflect on a tightrope expertly walked, and a win that could prove crucial in securing passage to the knockout stages. High risk, high reward.

Ryan Christie stat

Man of the match - Christopher Jullien

BBC Scotland's Kheredine Idessane at Celtic Park

Several players caught the eye, on both sides, at various stages. Lazio were fabulously fluid going forward with Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, Correa and Lazzari giving Celtic all sorts of problems on the counter-attack.

For Celtic, Christie impressed in flashes, not least with his goal. Hatem Elhamed also had a fine game, solid in defence and skilful in attack, with some delightful first-half flicks and tricks. And there were also two fabulous saves from Fraser Forster. But one player towered above the rest, and not just because he's not far off two metres tall. Jullien didn't put a foot wrong all night.

Commanding in the air, great with the ball at his feet, and with a superb range of passing that turned defence into attack on more than one occasion, the French centre-back can feel very happy with his performance. He was deemed not quite ready, or fit enough, for the Champions League qualification defeat by Cluj but, since then, he has grown game by game. The £7m investment looks well spent.

Match stats

  • Celtic are the first Scottish club to win against an Italian side since October 2007 (also Celtic v AC Milan 2-1 in Champions League)
  • Lazio have lost six of their past seven Europa League games, with the only exception a 2-1 victory against Rennes.
  • Celtic (W2 D1) have avoided defeat in their opening three games of a Europa League campaign for the first time since 2014-15
  • Lazio have conceded in each of their past 13 European games; their longest ever run without a clean sheet
  • Lazzari's goal was his first in 47 games in all competitions, since netting for SPAL in Serie A in March 2018
  • Christie is the first Celtic player to both score and assist in a European game (excluding qualifiers) since Paul McGowan against Rapid Vienna in December 2009.

Line-ups

Celtic

  • 67Forster
  • 33ElhamedSubstituted forBittonat 83'minutes
  • 2JullienBooked at 77mins
  • 35AjerBooked at 90mins
  • 23Bolingoli-MbomboSubstituted forHayesat 85'minutes
  • 8Brown
  • 42McGregor
  • 49Forrest
  • 17Christie
  • 27ElyounoussiBooked at 62minsSubstituted forRogicat 66'minutes
  • 22Edouard

Substitutes

  • 1Gordon
  • 6Bitton
  • 10Bayo
  • 11Sinclair
  • 13Bauer
  • 15Hayes
  • 18Rogic

Lazio

  • 1Strakosha
  • 15Jacinto QuissangaBooked at 76mins
  • 93Vavro
  • 33Acerbi
  • 29Lazzari
  • 16Parolo
  • 6Leiva
  • 21Milinkovic-Savic
  • 22Rodríguez MenéndezSubstituted forLulicat 69'minutes
  • 11CorreaSubstituted forImmobileat 73'minutes
  • 20CaicedoSubstituted forCataldiat 85'minutesBooked at 87mins

Substitutes

  • 3Ramos Marchi
  • 4Gabarrón Gil
  • 7Berisha
  • 17Immobile
  • 19Lulic
  • 23Guerrieri
  • 32Cataldi
Referee:
Ivan Bebek
Attendance:
56,172

Match Stats

Home TeamCelticAway TeamLazio
Possession
Home50%
Away50%
Shots
Home14
Away10
Shots on Target
Home2
Away5
Corners
Home5
Away3
Fouls
Home10
Away8

Live Text

Match ends, Celtic 2, Lazio 1.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Celtic 2, Lazio 1.

Foul by Ciro Immobile (Lazio).

Nir Bitton (Celtic) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Corner, Lazio. Conceded by Jonny Hayes.

Attempt saved. Danilo Cataldi (Lazio) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top left corner.

Attempt blocked. Marco Parolo (Lazio) header from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Danilo Cataldi with a cross.

Booking

Kristoffer Ajer (Celtic) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Manuel Lazzari (Lazio) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Foul by Kristoffer Ajer (Celtic).

Attempt blocked. Tomas Rogic (Celtic) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked.

Goal!

Goal! Celtic 2, Lazio 1. Christopher Jullien (Celtic) header from the centre of the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Ryan Christie with a cross following a corner.

Corner, Celtic. Conceded by Denis Vavro.

Attempt blocked. Scott Brown (Celtic) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Odsonne Edouard.

Booking

Danilo Cataldi (Lazio) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Nir Bitton (Celtic) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Danilo Cataldi (Lazio).

Attempt missed. Odsonne Edouard (Celtic) left footed shot from the left side of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Ryan Christie.

Substitution

Substitution, Celtic. Jonny Hayes replaces Boli Bolingoli-Mbombo.

Substitution

Substitution, Lazio. Danilo Cataldi replaces Felipe Caicedo.

Attempt missed. Ciro Immobile (Lazio) right footed shot from the right side of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Felipe Caicedo.

Substitution

Substitution, Celtic. Nir Bitton replaces Hatem Elhamed because of an injury.

Attempt saved. Marco Parolo (Lazio) right footed shot from very close range is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Manuel Lazzari.

Foul by Scott Brown (Celtic).

Sergej Milinkovic-Savic (Lazio) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Hand ball by Sergej Milinkovic-Savic (Lazio).

Booking

Christopher Jullien (Celtic) is shown the yellow card.

Booking

Bastos (Lazio) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Callum McGregor (Celtic) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by Bastos (Lazio).

Attempt blocked. Sergej Milinkovic-Savic (Lazio) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Manuel Lazzari.

Corner, Celtic. Conceded by Senad Lulic.

Substitution

Substitution, Lazio. Ciro Immobile replaces Joaquín Correa.

Corner, Celtic. Conceded by Francesco Acerbi.

Foul by Senad Lulic (Lazio).

Tomas Rogic (Celtic) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Substitution

Substitution, Lazio. Senad Lulic replaces Jony.

Goal!

Goal! Celtic 1, Lazio 1. Ryan Christie (Celtic) left footed shot from the centre of the box to the centre of the goal. Assisted by Odsonne Edouard.

Substitution

Substitution, Celtic. Tomas Rogic replaces Mohamed Elyounoussi.

Joaquín Correa (Lazio) hits the left post with a right footed shot from the centre of the box. Assisted by Sergej Milinkovic-Savic following a fast break.

goal

As It Stood

A

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Sevilla33007079
2FK Qarabag31116604
3F91 Dudelange3102510-53
4Apoel Nicosia301257-21

B

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1FC Copenhagen31203215
2Dynamo Kiev31202115
3Malmö FF31113304
4Lugano301213-21

C

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1FC Basel32108267
2Getafe32013216
3FK Krasnodar310237-43
4Trabzonspor301225-31

D

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1PSV Eindhoven32107347
2Sporting32015416
3LASK31112204
4Rosenborg300316-50

E

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Celtic32105237
2CFR Cluj32013306
3Lazio310245-13
4Rennes301224-21

F

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Arsenal330010289
2Frankfurt320134-16
3Standard Liege310236-33
4Vitória Guimarães300326-40

G

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Young Boys32015326
2Rangers31113304
3FC Porto311134-14
4Feyenoord310223-13

H

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Espanyol32104137
2Ludogorets32018266
3Ferencvárosi TC311124-24
4CSKA Moscow300318-70

I

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Wolfsburg31206425
2KAA Gent31206515
3Oleksandria302135-22
4Saint-Étienne302145-12

J

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Roma31206245
2Istanbul Basaksehir311125-34
3RZ Pellets WAC31115234
4B Mgladbach302126-42

K

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Sporting Braga32105327
2Wolves32013216
3Slovan Bratislava31117614
4Besiktas300337-40

L

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Man Utd32102027
2AZ Alkmaar31208265
3Partizan Belgrade31114404
4FC Astana300319-80
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