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Celtic's UEFA Europa League Group E Opponents - Lazio

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THE 2018/19 UEFA Europa League delivered a classic final in the all-London clash between Chelsea and Arsenal, and some of the continent’s biggest names are lining up again to be in there for this season’s final in Gdansk’s eye-catching Stadion Energa.

Arsenal are in there once more for the 2019/20 tournament along with other giants of the European game such as Manchester United and PSV Eindhoven - plus there are also old European final foes for Celtic in the shape of both Porto and Feyenoord.

The final date of May 27, 2020 may seem a long way away, but so was May 21, 2003 when Celtic started on the Road to Seville and the UEFA Cup final.

The Hoops now embark on another UEFA Europa League journey in their Group E games against Italian giants, Lazio, French Cup holders, Stade Rennais and Romanian champions, CFR Cluj.

You can find all the ticket info for Celtic’s Group E games under the lights of Paradise HERE, and this week’s Celtic View gives the lowdown on each of the Hoops’ Euro opponents from the games ahead.

You can also check out the story of our Group E challengers right here – starting with Lazio.

STADIUM

In typical Italian tradition, both Lazio and Roma share the city’s main stadium, the Stadio Olimpico, and it is also the regular home of the Italian national side as well as hosting games in the 1990 World Cup, including West Germany’s 1-0 final win over Argentina. The stadium was rebuilt for that tournament, and, as you can tell by the name, it was also redeveloped for the 1960 Summer Olympics held in Italy, and, in fact, it is still owned by the Italian National Olympic Committee. The ground also hosts the Coppa Italia finals, and, for the past seven years, has also been home to the Italian national rugby team. The Stadio Olimpico’s most recent refurbishment was in 2009 for UEFA Champions League final when Barcelona beat Manchester United 2-0. It also hosted two previous European Cup finals, both won by Liverpool – 1976/77 when they beat Borussia Monchengladbach 3-1, and 1983/84 when they beat Roma 4-2 on penalties after a 1-1 draw.

HONOURS

Lazio’s first major honour was in 1958 when they beat Fiorentina 1-0 in the Coppa Italia final, played at their own Stadio Olimpico home. That was the first of seven wins in the tournament, the most recent being last season when they beat Atalanta 2-0, with both goals coming in the last eight minutes, again on their home turf. However, following that first cup success, their next silverware wasn’t until season 1973/74 when they won Serie A by two points over Juventus. Lazio’s only other title was right at the start of this Millennium when they again pipped Juventus for the 1999/00 title, this time by a single point. Lazio did the double that term as they also beat Inter Milan 2-1 over both legs of that season’s final. Indeed, five of Lazio’s Coppa Italia wins have been since the turn of the Millennium, but they did taste European success prior to that. In season 1998/99, they lifted the European Cup-Winners’ Cup with a 2-1 win over Mallorca at Villa Park, and then followed that up by beating Manchester United 1-0 in the European Super Cup final in Monaco.

EUROPE

Lazio’s first venture into Europe was in the mid-1970s and they reached their first final when the 1997/98 UEFA Cup showdown was an all-Italian affair in Paris as the Rome side faced Inter Milan at the Parc des Princes. However, Inter triumphed 3-0 in the French capital. In 2002/03, they were back at the semi-final stage of the same competition, and could possibly have been facing Celtic in the final. However, they lost 4-1 on aggregate to Porto while the Hoops disposed of Boavista, and it was the Portuguese side who reached the Seville final. In their aforementioned Cup-Winners’ Cup win over Mallorca, Bobo Vieri opened the scoring for them in the seventh minute before Dani pulled one back for the Spanish side just four minutes later. However, Pavel Nedved netted with nine minutes remaining and the trophy went back to Rome.

PLAYERS

Bosnian, Senad Lulic has been with Lazio for the majority of the decade after joining from Young Boys and two years ago, after the departure of Lucas Biglia to AC Milan, the long-serving left-sided player was made captain of Lazio. Lulic has scored four goals in 57 Bosnia and Herzegovina international games and he is aided in his duties by vice-captain, Marco Parola, with the Italian internationalist midfielder one of the first names on the Lazio teamsheet. Up front, a real goal threat comes from Ciro Immobile, who obviously doesn’t take his surname to heart. He has scored 88 goals in his 135 games for Lazio as part of 166 goals in 330 top level games. He started as a youth with Juventus, but really broke through at Genoa after loan spells elsewhere. Torino and spells in Germany and Spain followed before he joined Lazio in 2016 and is regularly among the top scorers in Serie A.

THIS SEASON

The Rome side are only two games into their Serie A campaign, and have recorded a win and a draw ahead of their visit to Fererra to play S.P.A.L. They kicked-off with a visit to Sampdoria and Ciro Immobile scored their first goal of the new season in the 37th minute. After the break, Joaquin Correa made it 2-0 before Immobile grabbed his second in what was a 3-0 win for Lazio. Next up was the Rome derby, with Lazio officially the home side and co-tenants, Roma the away side at their shared Stadio Olimpico. Serbian internationalist and former Mancherster City player, Aleksandar Kolarov put Roma ahead from the spot in the 17th minute, but Spaniard, Luis Alberto equalised in the 58th minute, and the game finished in a 1-1 draw.

LAZIO FACTFILE

Formed: 1900

Stadium: Stadio Olimpico

Capacity: 70,634

Manager: Simone Inzaghi

League titles: 2

National Cup: 7

Super Cup: 4

European Cup-Winners’ Cup: 1

European Super Cup: 1

THE GAMES

Matchday three, Thursday, October 24

Celtic v Lazio kick-off 8pm

Matchday four, Thursday, November 7

Lazio v Celtic, kick-off 5.55pm

All your ticket info HERE

Keep an eye out later for our lowdown on Stade Rennais right here on celticfc.net


For more news relating to Manchester United, visit our sister site MUFC Live.
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