Lazio captain Immobile scored a brace against Celtic yesterday
Two late goals by Lazio captain Ciro Immobile earned them a 2-0 home win over bottom side Celtic in Champions League Group E on Tuesday, putting the Italians in a strong position to reach the last 16 and ending the visitors’ qualification hopes.
Second-half substitute Immobile opened the scoring for the hosts in the 82nd minute with a shot into the roof of the net from close range before doubling the advantage three minutes later with a low strike after cutting inside on to his left foot.
Lazio provisionally moved top of the group with 10 points from five games and will seal their last-16 spot if third-placed Feyenoord lose at home to Atletico Madrid, in second, later on Tuesday.
Celtic, who were awarded a penalty in stoppage time before the referee reversed his decision following a VAR review, have one point and are unable to finish in the top two.
Lazio created more chances in the first half and could have taken an early lead through Felipe Anderson, who had their best opportunity in the opening 45 minutes, but the Brazilian sent his close-range header over the crossbar.
Celtic, thrashed 6-0 in their previous outing in Madrid and needing a win to stay in the hunt for a top-two finish, ramped up their efforts in the second half but were unable to find a way past Lazio keeper Ivan Provedel.
Lazio coach Maurizio Sarri turned to Immobile and Pedro for the second half, introducing the strikers after the hour mark.
The captain, who became the first player to score 100 away Serie A goals on Saturday against Salernitana, showed his quality with two excellent finishes to help the Italians to get a third win out of their five group fixtures.
“If you can dream it, you can do it,” Immobile told Sky Sport. “I didn’t think much about the exclusion (from the starting line-up) because we are going through a difficult team moment and putting personal things in front doesn’t do any good.
“I think the only explanation is that the enthusiasm of playing this competition puts us in a position to give our best.”
Lazio’s winless Serie A run stretched to three games on Saturday when they were stunned 2-1 by bottom side Salernitana in their sixth league defeat this season.
Celtic’s miserable night was completed in stoppage time when the referee initially awarded them a penalty for a push on Oh Hyeon-gyu, but he changed his mind after being asked by the VAR to review his decision on the pitchside monitor.