Celtic U19s welcomed Lazio to the City Stadium on Tuesday afternoon in the prestigious UEFA Youth League. Off the back of a disappointing loss over in Rotterdam, the Hoops were looking to get back on track in Group E, and they did just that.
Down 1-0 for the majority, the Bhoys rallied late on and got a deserved equaliser courtesy of a perfect penalty from captain Mackenzie Carse. For both sides, a point was a fair representation of how the match went.
Lazio enjoyed possession in the opening spells which culminated in a corner three minutes in. The visitors’ captain, Fabio Ruggeri, fired over, though. Lenny Agbaire then lost out to Leonardo Di Tommaso out wide, allowing the winger to drive in towards goal. Hoops goalkeeper Kai McLean was there to keep the scoreline level.
The Italians continued to be presented with the majority of opportunities in the first 15 minutes, left winger Sana Fernandes looking particularly threatening up against his opposite number Liam Bonetig. The Bhoys, however, started to get a feel for the ball. Similar to Brendan Rodgers’ first team, they continually looked to play out from the back.
Once again, however, Fernandes was lively. Left-back Alessandro Milani played him in behind, and he flashed across goal, but no one was there to connect with what was a terrific ball half an hour in. After this, Rocco Vata looked to break forward for the Celts in a three-on-one situation, but Ruggeri was defensively sound, preventing his side from conceding a goalscoring opportunity.
Bruno Davidson then teased an inviting ball across the face of Davide Renzetti’s goal but similar to Fernandes’, no one was there to convert. The Lazio number seven got his deserved goal five minutes before half-time, though. Cutting in from the left, the tricky little winger opened up his body and scored with finesse into the far corner of the net. It was the perfect time to take the lead for the visitors.
After getting themselves in front, Lazio got their feet on the ball. Di Tommaso almost doubled the lead immediately after Fernandes scored, although referee Helgi Mikael Jonasson blew the whistle for the break not long after.
The teams emerged for the second half to some teaming Glasgow rain. That did not prevent the action from slowing down, though. Vata put in some nice work on the left and the ball eventually fell for Kyle Ure in the box who fired over. Lazio then went close with a free kick, but McLean pulled out some outstanding acrobatics to save.
This flurry of chances kickstarted a growing sense of liveliness in the game. Vata had a shot from range saved moments after he combined well with his skipper Carse on the left-hand side. Agbaire looked to head home from a Celtic corner soon after, but Renzetti caught comfortably.
Lazio then enjoyed some possession after the hour mark, but Darren O’Dea’s side remained sound in defence. Fernandes collided with McLean following a Luca Napolitano cross from wide and play did stop for a while because of it. but proceedings were not interrupted by a notable amount.
Going into the last 15, Celtic began to push for an equaliser. Mitch Frame, who signed a new Celtic contract last week, looked to combine with substitute Ben Quinn on the left but it was of no avail. Davidson tried to control at the back post and get a shot away although the referee adjudged him to have handled the ball.
Celtic pressure continued to mount as they won a series of corners. Carse whipped a couple of dangerous balls in from each side of the Lazio goal and the Bhoys were unfortunate that no opportunities fell their way.
Six minutes were added and in the first of those, Davidson was brought down in the box, resulting in a penalty for the hosts. Carse, who was a standout throughout, stepped up and scored with utmost composure into the top right corner to draw his side level in stoppage time.
It was an equaliser the hosts deserved and not long after it, the final whistle was sounded. 1-1 was the scoreline as the teams walked back into the changing rooms and it was a fair representation of how proceedings went.
Celtic starting XI: Liam McLean, Liam Bonetig, Lenny Agbaire, Mitch Robertson, Kyle Ure, Mackenzie Carse, Daniel Kelly, Bruno Davidson, Rocco Vata, Daniel Cummings.
Lazio starting XI: Davide Renzetti, Filipe Bordon, Alessandro Milani, Filippo Bedini, Sana Fernandes, Leonardo Di Tommaso, Luca Napolitano, Fabio Ruggeri, Damyan Yordanov, Matteo Dutu, Federico Serra.
Man of the Match – Celtic – Mackenzie Carse
In the midfield for Celtic, Mackenzie Carse was a composed head. The 19-year-old led by example, constantly talking to and communicating with his teammates.
In the dying embers, he put testament to his captain status by stepping up and scoring from the spot to salvage a deserved point for his team.
Man of the Match – Lazio – Matteo Dutu
Centre-back Matteo Dutu looked like an experienced head on young shoulders. The Romanian under-19 international was calm and collected in defence, managing to sniff out any Celtic threats with ease.
His positioning was of a high level, similar to his passing. Dutu was more than capable with the ball at his feet, continually looking to play diagonal balls out to goalscorer Sana Fernandes.
Although he is 17 years of age, Dutu plays like someone much older. He is most certainly a talent to keep an eye out for in the coming years.
Celtic Magic Moment – Late Carse Equaliser
Going into the dying embers, Celtic began to push for a late leveller. They continually mounted pressure on the Lazio goal and got their just reward.
Winger Bruno Davidson looked to cut inside, and when he did, he was brought down. A spot-kick was awarded.
Captain Mackenzie Carse stepped up and showed utmost composure to score into the top right corner. It was a memorable moment for the 19-year-old who led by example throughout.
Lazio Magic Moment – Fernandes Opener
Lively throughout the 90 minutes, young Portuguese winger Sana Fernandes deservedly scored the game’s opener just before half-time.
Cutting in from the left-hand side, the 17-year-old opened up his body after getting inside the box and finished into the bottom right corner.
Not just with the goal, but the attacker caused lots of problems for Hoops right-back Liam Bonetig throughout the match. He looks like a player with vast amounts of potential.
69. Kai McLean
39. Rocco Vata
40. Bruno Davidson
48. Daniel Kelly
50. Lenny Agbaire
52. Mitchell Robertson
61. Kyle Ure
60. MacKenzie Carse
64. Daniel Cummings
68. Mitchel Frame
75. Liam Bonetig
46. Magnus Mackenzie
51. Ben Quinn
66. Corey Thomson
73. Jude Bonnar
74. Lewis Dobbie
22. Davide Renzetti
2. Filipe Bordon
3. Alessandro Milani
5. Filippo Bedini
7. Saná Fernandes
8. Leonardo Di Tommaso
10. Luca Napolitano
13. Fabio Andrea Ruggeri
14. Damyan Ivanov Yordanov
15. Matteo Duțu
17. Federico Serra
1. Federico Magro
6. Andrea Petta
21. Massimo Bigotti
23. Matteo Marini
28. Nicolò Urbano
29. Matteo Zazza
30. Marco Nazzaro
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