Brendan Rodgers admitted that Celtic’s 2-1 loss to Lazio was a sickening defeat to take after his side had impressed in the Champions League group stage match.
Kyogo Furuhashi had given Celtic the lead after just 12 minutes, finishing off a slick passing move with a crisp finish.
Lazio bounced back with a goal after half an hour when Matias Vecino scored after a corner.
Celtic thought they had scored a dramatic late goal nine minutes from the end of regulation time when Luis Palma found the net but a VAR check showed that a faint touch from Daizen Maeda in the build-up meant the winger was offside.
That disappointment turned to misery when Lazio scored with almost the last touch of the game as Pedro headed in, leaving Celtic’s players and manager stunned.
“I’m bitterly disappointed,” Rodgers said. “I felt we totally deserved to take something from the game.
“We had a great start and scored a great goal. I’m disappointed with the goal we conceded, I felt we could do better with the corner.
“We were getting through them and it looked like a matter of time before we could score. We got a goal but unfortunately Daizen just got a touch on it and made it offside.
“I felt at that point we deserved to be in front, we had got into some good areas.
“To concede late on was harsh but there’s a learning there. You have to secure the ball late on. The learning is just managing the game at that late stage.
“We knocked on the door second half, if you can’t make the breakthrough just make sure in that late stage of the game that you are secure behind the ball.”
After losing 2-0 to Feyenoord on matchday one, the defeat leaves Celtic at the bottom of Group E with no points from their opening two matches. The Scottish champions still have hopes of finishing at least third and securing European football after Christmas, with Rodgers saying that he has seen enough to know that if improvements are made, they have a chance.
“We were under no illusions at the beginning of the competition where we sat,” he said. “I said at the beginning our idea was to qualify for European football, and that’s still the ambition and mentality.
“We have shown over the two games against good sides that we can compete. If we can just tidy up one or two moments and maybe get a bit of luck, we will still fight in every single game to get that qualification.”
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