Celtic beat Lazio in Rome to reach the last 32
Paris (AFP) - Olivier Ntcham scored a dramatic injury-time winner to grab Celtic a 2-1 victory at Lazio on Thursday and send the Scottish champions into the Europa League last 32.
Neil Lennon’s outfit remain top of Group E with two games remaining, seven points clear of third-placed Lazio after their second straight win over the Romans.
“It’s great to have qualified with two games to spare,” Celtic manager Lennon told uefa.com.
“It’s too early to say how far we can go in this competition but we can be a difficult opponent for anyone.”
Ciro Immobile volleyed the hosts into a seventh-minute lead, but James Forrest drew Celtic level before half-time with his 11th goal of the season.
Both sides wasted numerous chances in a wide-open second half, before French midfielder Ntcham had the final say.
The 23-year-old substitute latched onto his compatriot Odsonne Edouard’s pass in the fifth minute of added time and dinked a cool finish over onrushing Lazio goalkeeper Thomas Strakosha.
“Realistically we have very little chance of qualifying. But never say never in football,” said Lazio coach Simone Inzaghi.
It will be the third straight season that 1967 European champions Celtic have played in the last 32 after defeats by Valencia and Zenit Saint Petersburg at that stage in the previous two campaigns.
The other game in the group saw CFR Cluj move to within a point of qualification by beating Rennes 1-0 in Romania.
Former Barcelona winger Munir El Haddadi starred with a hat-trick as Sevilla thrashed Dudelange 5-2 to also reach the knockout rounds.
Record five-time winners Sevilla knew victory in Luxembourg would send them through from Group A and their one-sided win also sealed top spot.
Munas Dabbur opened the scoring before El Haddadi, who signed from Barcelona in January, tapped in the second before the half-hour mark.
The 24-year-old fired home a magnificent free-kick in the 33rd minute and completed his treble midway through the second half after Dabbur had made it four before the break.
El Haddadi scored a hat-trick in Luxembourg
Danel Sinani’s late double restored some pride for the hosts, who are still in contention to progress despite sitting bottom of the group, one point behind APOEL and Qarabag after the Cypriot side’s 2-1 win in Nicosia.
PSV Eindhoven, the 1978 winners, suffered a humbling 4-1 defeat by Austrian team LASK Linz to slip to third in Group D behind their opponents and Sporting Lisbon, who won 2-0 at Rosenborg.
Elsewhere, Standard Liege leapfrogged Eintracht Frankfurt into second in Group F behind Arsenal with a 2-1 victory over last season’s semi-finalists.
Manchester United can qualify with a win against Partizan Belgrade at Old Trafford later on Thursday, while Roma visit German Bundesliga leaders Borussia Moenchengladbach.