Lazio manager Simone Inzaghi still frustrated with Celtic penalty decision

By David Walton

February 16, 2020

Lazio manager Simone Inzaghi has bemoaned the penalty call against Celtic that he believes cost his side Europa League progression.

Celtic were drawn with the Serie A giants in the group stages of this year’s competition. The Hoops would then beat them 2-1 both home and away in incredible last-minute fashion on both occasions. The results were enough to send Celtic through, whilst Lazio went on to lose to Rennes on matchday six also.

However, there was one incident in the second half in Italy when Christopher Jullien appeared to make contact with the ball via his hand. Lazio didn’t get the penalty before going on to lose the game.

The Celtic first-team in Lazio (Giuseppe Maffia/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Since then, their form has been stunning. They sit in third place in Serie A and only one point behind title-chasing Juventus and Inter Milan. Yet Inzaghi still can’t get the Celtic penalty decision out of his mind. Speaking in comments published by the Daily Record, the Italian said the following:

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“I think Lazio are deserving of everything we’re getting on the pitch. Lazio don’t talk about referees anymore.

“This year we went out of the Europa League because of a penalty not given against Celtic. It was clear, a handball on a shot by (Ciro) Immobile.

“We went out of the Coppa Italia against Napoli in a manner we could complain about for hours. So I think it’s right to talk about the present, the league table, and tomorrow’s match.”

Why Lazio really went out of the Europa League

So there we go. The sole reason as to why Lazio never made it out of the group stages was down to one penalty shout.

Forget the fact that on three occasions they managed to turn 1-0 leads into 2-1 defeats. Nah, that doesn’t come into it. They didn’t go out because they lost in Cluj, were turned over twice by Celtic, then soundly beaten in Rennes.

Inzaghi wants to have a look at his own team’s failings before trying to blame the referee. After all, wasn’t it his player, Valon Berisha, who passed straight to Odsonne Edouard to set-up Celtic’s second goal in Italy? A point could easily have been spared for his side had they not been so sloppy.

Lazio’s Simone Inzaghi (Nicolò Campo/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Didn’t Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, Berisha, Immobile, Joaquin Correa, Jony Rodriguez, and Felipe Caicedo not all spurn chances against Celtic? Surely it’s down to their profligacy that they ended up being put out of the competition?

When you only win two of six European games, you can’t turn around and say that a decision has cost you. Lazio, for all of their clear might, underperformed and didn’t deserve to qualify for the last-32.

For a manager in Inzaghi who’s clearly doing special things with the Rome-based side, it’s disappointing to hear him talk so bitterly about the Europa group stages.