Three takeaways from Celtic 1-2 Lazio: Sarri’s side leave it late again, Pedro’s experience pays

Lazio got a crucial three points against Celtic in the Champions League thanks to a late winner from the experienced Pedro, but it was not a performance that will spark much in the way of confidence.

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Lazio again left it late once again to strike in the Champions League as their Matchday 2 fixture in Group E against Celtic saw a 96th-minute winner from the experienced Pedro, having been outplayed by the Scottish side for the majority of the game at Celtic Park.

Before Lazio’s visit, Celtic hadn’t lost a game at Celtic Park since October 11, 2022, which shows the task that lay ahead of Lazio. However, the Italian outfit almost never seemed a threat to the home side. 

Having taken the lead in the 12th minute through Kyogo Furuhashi, Celtic struggled to create any further meaningful chances. The Aquile equalised just 20 minutes later through Matias Vecino before winning it at the death through a header from Pedro

It was far from a convincing performance from Maurizio Sarri’s side. Nonetheless, his side got the result which is all that matters in the table. Lazio currently sit second in Group E on four points, behind Atletico Madrid – who are first due to goals scored.

Lazio fail to inspire in the Champions League, again

This season hasn’t been one to scream about for Lazio. Excluding two pieces of last-minute drama in the Champions League, performances have been poor. 

Brendan Rodgers’ side started the game exceptionally and scored early. However, they couldn’t maintain the pressure they held for the entirety of the first half, giving the visitors an opening. Even though Lazio did get level, they didn’t really exploit this dip in tempo from Celtic in the way they should have.

The second half was more of the same. Celtic on top, Lazio on the retreat. Again, the home side didn’t capitalise, and the game seemed destined to end in a draw. However, you can’t ever count the Biancolesti out of it, especially in the Champions League it seems.

Although the Aquile claimed three points, it wasn’t a performance deserving of such, which is worrying. A good result against Feyenoord would put them in good stead to progress in Europe, whether in the Champions League or the Europa League

The reality is that a lot is lacking from the side, and they leave a lot to be desired in their current state. Late goals from Pedro and goalkeeper Ivan Provedel cannot be relied on, as fun as they may be.

Late Lazio goals are fun, but… 

Elseid Hysaj in Champions League action for Lazio away at Celtic. (S.S. Lazio Facebook)

The main headline of Matchday 1 of the group stage was that Ivan Provedel, the goalkeeper, had scored a goal. Not only did he score a goal, it was a great goal and one that secured an unlikely point for Lazio at home to Atletico Madrid.

The three points against Celtic came with a stoppage-time goal again, and that is incredibly fun for the watching fans and feels amazing. To be boring about it, though, that is not really a recipe for actual success in the Champions League unless Lazio can start putting together good performances at this level over 90 minutes.

That late goal will not always come, there isn’t enough talent in the squad to rely on that. Sarri must find a way to get ahead in games early and beat teams without a late moment that comes against all the odds.

Pedro’s experience is invaluable

Lazio’s Pedro celebrates in the Champions League. [@OfficialSSLazio]

After his goal on Wednesday evening, Pedro became the oldest player to score in the Champions League this season. He may only be the 13th oldest player to feature in the competition, but, his goal showed he still has the quality.

From the run to the header itself, the goal oozed quality that not many players who are 36 years of age possess. The value of that goal could be huge to the side too. A late boost could be what the squad needs to push forward from here, both domestically and in Europe.

It does seem unlikely that the veteran will sign a new contract next summer when his current deal expires. However, his value to the squad as a mentor and late substitute will be indispensable this season, particularly in the Champions League.

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