Celtic arrive in Rome full of confidence after coming from behind to beat Lazio 2-1 in Glasgow and remain right in Group E contention.
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Celtic arrive in Rome full of confidence after coming from behind to beat Lazio 2-1 in Glasgow. The Scottish champions will be wary of wounded opponents but safe in the knowledge that they will remain in the top two of Group E whatever the outcome in the Italian capital.
• The Scottish champions have seven points from their first three games, two home wins, the first against CFR Cluj (2-0), following a 1-1 draw at Rennes. Lazio are four points in arrears of Celtic and three behind CFR, who defeated them 2-1 in Romania on Matchday 1; the Italian side's sole victory came at the Stadio Olimpico when they won 2-1 against Rennes.
• Lazio had never faced Scottish opponents in UEFA competition until Matchday 3, when they led at half-time through Manuel Lazzari's first European goal only to concede twice after the interval, Ryan Christie and, in the 89th minute, Christopher Jullien turning the game in Celtic's favour.
• Celtic have nevertheless won just six of their 26 UEFA fixtures against Italian clubs, none of them in Italy, where their record is D3 L9. They have been defeated without scoring on five of their last six visits, the exception a 1-1 draw at Udinese in their only previous UEFA Europa League group stage encounter on Italian soil, in December 2011.
• The Bhoys did, however, emerge triumphant from their first, and most important, fixture against an Italian side outside Glasgow, beating Internazionale 2-1 in Lisbon to win the 1966/67 European Cup final.
• Lazio defeated Atalanta 2-0 in last season's Coppa Italia final to lift the trophy for the seventh time and gain direct access to the UEFA Europa League group stage – a competition they exited in the round of 32 last season after losing home (0-1) and away (0-2) to Sevilla.
• Runners-up to Inter in the 1997/98 UEFA Cup, the Biancocelesti's last six UEFA Europa League group stage participations have all been successful – after failure in the first – and they have topped their section on three occasions. Their best performances came in 2012/13 and 2017/18, when they reached the quarter-finals.
• Lazio's home record in the UEFA Europa League group stage is W15 D4 L3. They were on a run of 17 group games undefeated in Rome (W13 D4) until they lost 1-2 to Eintracht Frankfurt on Matchday 6 last season – a defeat that was immediately followed by another as they succumbed to Sevilla in the round of 32.
• Celtic won the domestic treble of Premiership, Scottish Cup and League Cup for an unprecedented third successive season in 2018/19, but in Europe they missed out on the UEFA Champions League group stage and lost five matches out of eight in the UEFA Europa League, including both round of 32 encounters against Valencia (0-2 h, 0-1 a).
• This term Celtic again failed to negotiate the UEFA Champions League third qualifying round, losing to CFR (1-1 a, 3-4 h), but a comprehensive play-off win against Swedish champions AIK (2-0 h, 4-1 a) enabled them to reach the UEFA Europa League group stage for the sixth time. Two of their previous five participations at this juncture have been successful, including last season, but they have yet to progress beyond the round of 32.
• Until last season's Matchday 5 victory at Rosenborg (1-0) the Glasgow club had never won outside Scotland in the UEFA Europa League. Their other 18 away matches in the competition proper have brought nine draws and nine defeats.
Links and trivia
• Celtic's Olivier Ntcham played with Genoa between 2015 and 2017 and was a team-mate – and fellow loanee – of Lazio's Danilo Cataldi at the club in 2016/17.
• Lazio's Jordan Lukaku and Celtic's Boli Bolingoli are cousins.
• Lazio are appearing in the UEFA Europa League group stage for the eighth time, matching Salzburg's competition record.
• Celtic defeated Hibernian 5-2 on Saturday to reach the final of the Scottish League Cup on 8 December at Hampden, where they will face Rangers. The Hoops are bidding to lift the trophy for a fourth successive year and the 19th time in all.
• Lazio boss since April 2016, when he replaced Stefano Pioli, Simone Inzaghi represented the club as a forward between 1999 and 2010, winning the Italian double in his debut season and the Coppa Italia twice more in later years. The younger brother of fellow ex-Italian international Filippo Inzaghi, with whom he played at home-town outfit Piacenza, he began coaching Lazio's youth teams immediately after hanging up his boots. His first trophy as head coach was the 2017 Italian Super Cup, his second the Coppa Italia two years later.
• Having just left Hibernian, former Northern Ireland international Neil Lennon returned for a second spell as Celtic manager in February 2019 following Brendan Rodgers' mid-season move to Leicester City, and duly sealed the club's 'treble treble' of domestic trophies. He had previously served the Glasgow club as player (2000–07) and manager (2010–14), capturing 16 trophies during those spells, though it was at Leicester, where he won two League Cups under his compatriot Martin O'Neill, that he first made his mark as an industrious and effective midfield anchorman.