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Lowdown on Lazio ahead of their Europa League clash with Celtic

The Hoops have never faced the Serie A side before.

Lazio are coached by former player Simone Inzaghi (John Walton/PA)
Lazio are coached by former player Simone Inzaghi (John Walton/PA)

By Euan Parsons, PA

Leaders Celtic will resume their Europa League Group E charge when Lazio visit Parkhead on Thursday.

Here, the PA news agency looks at what lies ahead for the Scottish champions.

European history

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Lazio celebrate winning the UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup in 1999 (Rui Vieira/PA)

Lazio are no strangers to this competition, having reached the final in 1998 before losing to Serie A rivals Inter. This is their third straight season in the Europa League group stage and they are looking to progress to the knockout rounds for a third year in a row. Lazio won the UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup in 1999 before beating Champions League winners Manchester United to secure the UEFA Super Cup in the same year. Despite both clubs’ rich history in Europe, this will be the first meeting between Lazio and Celtic.

Coach

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Simone Inzaghi took the Lazio helm in 2016 (John Walton/PA)

Simone Inzaghi enjoyed a long and successful playing career with Lazio, winning the Serie A and multiple Coppa Italia titles before announcing his retirement in 2010. He remained at the club as a youth coach and was in 2016 asked to lead the senior team on a caretaker basis following Stefano Pioli’s exit. After being briefly replaced by Marcelo Bielsa, Inzaghi was handed the reins full-time that summer and he has since guided the club to a series of strong league finishes and Coppa Italia glory last season.

Form

Lazio head into Thursday’s clash on the back of a four-match unbeaten run after following up a comprehensive Serie A victory over Genoa and a 2-1 success against Group E rivals Rennes with battling league draws against Bologna and Atalanta. But it has not been all plain sailing for seventh-place Lazio who have struggled on the road this season, slipping up at SPAL and Inter in the league and losing 2-1 away to Cluj in their Europa League opener.

One to watch

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Ciro Immobile is a man in form (John Walton/PA)

Ciro Immobile has been in sensational form for Lazio so far this season, scoring nine goals in eight games to lead the Serie A top-scorer standings. The Italy striker, who won the top-flight golden boot while playing for Torino in the 2013-14 campaign, has settled in well at Lazio after joining them in 2016 following stints at Borussia Dortmund and Sevilla. Immobile has amassed a total of 76 goals in 113 Serie A games for Lazio, including a second-half brace from the spot as they snatched a point against Atalanta on Saturday.

PA

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