Brendan Rodgers bemoaned a lack of quality after Celtic’s interest in Europe ended with a 2-0 defeat in the Champions League by Lazio in Rome.

The Hoops went into the make-or-break game with one point from four Group E matches but were undone with two late goals from the home side’s classy substitute Ciro Immobile.

Celtic were awarded a penalty in added time for a push on substitute Oh Hyeon-gyu inside the box but it was overturned when VAR intervened and sent referee Halil Umut Meler to the pitchside monitor for another look.

The Parkhead outfit, without Luis Palma, Daizen Maeda, Reo Hatate and Liel Abada through suspension or injury, will finish bottom in their Champions League group for the second consecutive season.

Rodgers was quoted on saying: “It’s the overall quality. We need to have our very best players available.

“What makes the difference is that bit of experience and genuine quality. That’s something we can hopefully resolve over the next couple of windows.

“This group has gained more experience and shown they can compete in some games – but we need to add quality. That’s the glaring thing that stands out.

“Sadly for us, over the course of all the games, we’ve been hampered with our squad and availability. At this level, for us, that’s the very minimum.

“But I have to commend the players that have been playing. They have given everything. The game was very competitive right the way through.

“We lose two goals but the effort and commitment was there.

“In the last 20 minutes we looked like the team that could go on and get the result, but we gave away two poor goals.

“The first one, we’re in a great position up the pitch and we lose possession and never recover our shape. Then they get a bit of luck with the deflection. That was a tough one to take.

“For the second goal, we obviously need to be stronger and better.”

The Scottish champions finished on two points in the Champions League last season and they have their final match at home to Feyenoord next month to improve on that tally.

Rodgers said: “We want to finish on a high. We want to win in front of our own supporters.

“Our support has been incredible, travelling all round Europe. They haven’t seen us win and we’d love to give them that victory at home and finish off with a positive result.”

Celtic crashed out of Europe for the season after a late double by super substitute Ciro Immobile gave Lazio a 2-0 Champions League win in Rome.

The Hoops went into the make-or-break game with one point from four Group E matches but gave as good as they got for most of the game before the home side’s veteran attacker struck in the 82nd and 85th minute to sink the Scottish champions.

To rub salt in the Celtic wounds they were awarded a penalty by Halil Umut Meler in added time for a push on substitute Oh Hyeon-gyu but it was overturned when VAR intervened and sent the referee to the pitchside monitor for another look.

Celtic remain bottom of the section and cannot catch Lazio, Atletico Madrid or Feyenoord.

Brendan Rodgers’ side play the Rotterdam team in their final tie at home next month but that will be their European swansong for another season.

The Hoops travelled to Rome knowing they needed a win to keep hope of progression in Europe alive.

Rodgers had stressed the importance of keeping 11 players on the field after having three players sent off in their two away games – Gustaf Lagerbielke and Odin Thiago Holm in the 2-0 defeat against Feyenoord and Daizen Maeda in the first half of their 6-0 thrashing in Madrid, with the latter and Luis Palma suspended.

Right-back Alistair Johnston, midfielder Paulo Bernardo and veteran winger James Forrest returned against a Lazio side whose coach Maurizio Sarri was under some pressure after defeat to bottom side Salernitana at the weekend saw them drop to 11th in Serie A.

The visitors made a decent fist of the first half without threatening too much, although after just four minutes Lazio keeper Ivan Provedel had to deal with a drive from Hoops striker Kyogo Furuhashi.

However, the best chance of the first half fell to Lazio’s Brazil international Felipe Anderson, who missed the target with a close-range header from a Matteo Guendouzi cross which ought to have tested Hoops keeper Joe Hart.

Furuhashi almost capitalised on some Lazio indecision in the penalty area between Provedel and defender Mario Gila before the Italian side got the ball to safety.

Both sides enjoyed spells of possession but neither keeper was properly tested again before the break.

Lazio started the second half with increased tempo but in the 49th minute Furuhashi flashed a shot across the far post on a Celtic break before Yang Hyun-jun headed a Forrest delivery back across goal trying to find Furuhashi when he might have tried to get it on target.

Meanwhile, Taty Castellanos twice headed over the bar at the other end and Gustav Isaksen squeezed a shot past the far post after a clever break into the Celtic box.

Immobile and Pedro Rodríguez came on for Anderson and Castellanos with Forrest making way for Mikey Johnston with striker Oh soon coming on for Bernardo to support Furuhashi.

The game began to heat up at both ends.

Lazio captain Luis Alberto lofted a shot over the bar with 10 minutes remaining but when Isaken’s drive was deflected into the path of Immobile he gleefully knocked it past Hart.

Minutes later, later, the Italy international outmuscled Liam Scales, turned inside Cameron Carter-Vickers and slotted in from close range again.

There was more drama in the three added minutes when Celtic were awarded a penalty for a Patric push on Oh but after being directed to his monitor, the Turkish official changed his mind and a chance of a consolation was gone.

Now, it is time again for Celtic to reflect on another European disappointment.

Brendan Rodgers has warned his Celtic players they must avoid seeing red against Lazio on Tuesday if they are to have a chance of keeping their European campaign alive beyond Christmas.

The Hoops have taken just one point from their four Champions League matches so far and need to win in the Stadio Olimpico and hope Atletico Madrid defeat Feyenoord in order to go into their final match against the Dutch side with a chance of progressing to the knockout phase of the Europa League.

Celtic’s cause has not been helped by the fact they have had three players sent off in their two away games – Gustaf Lagerbielke and Odin Thiago Holm in the 2-0 defeat in Rotterdam and Daizen Maeda in the first half of their 6-0 thrashing in Madrid.

Rodgers is adamant there can be no repeat of such indiscipline in Rome.

“What is important for us is making sure we have 11 men on the field,” said the Hoops boss. “In our two away games we’ve been down to nine men and then 10 men.

“At this level, that’s a big ask. For us, it’s about keeping our players on the field, playing the level of football that we know we can and have shown, and hopefully we get our breaks in the game.

“I think we learned that over the course of the competition, against Lazio and the other teams, that we can really compete when we are 11 vs 11.”

Celtic have not won away in the Champions League since defeating Anderlecht 3-0 more than six years ago, but Rodgers is optimistic his team can get the victory they require in the Italian capital.

“We have two games left, we know what we have to do,” he said. “We’re going to give it everything to achieve the victories we need.

“I’m excited by it, I’m really looking forward to seeing us play. I think we can get the result that we want but we know we have to work very, very hard.”

Rodgers is relishing the prospect of seeing his team run out at the Stadio Olimpico as they bid to avenge the 2-1 defeat they suffered at home to Lazio at the start of October.

“You play football to play in the best stadiums, in the best atmospheres,” he said. “When I was here before, the atmosphere was amazing and I expect it to be the same this time.

“It’s a really iconic stadium. You always expect the supporters to get behind the home team. I always say the louder the opponents cheer, the harder we run, so hopefully we run very hard.”

Celtic will be without key wide players Luis Palma, Liel Abada and Maeda, but James Forrest is back in contention after missing Saturday’s 1-1 draw at home to Motherwell.

Defender Liam Scales is confident about the Scottish champions’ prospects of victory.

“If we win the two games we give ourselves a right chance so that’s what we’re looking to do,” he said. “We do believe we can do it. We’ve come close enough, we’ve gone toe-to-toe with teams and just come out on the wrong side of the results.

“Away wins in Europe are hard to come by and if we can do that here it would be amazing for us as a group to kick on and believe that we can do it again in the last game.”

Former Shamrock Rovers defender Scales, who spent last season on loan at Aberdeen, is revelling in the Champions League experience.

“I’m taking it all in, taking as much of it in as I can because you don’t know how many of these experiences you’re going to have playing in these stadiums against this level of opposition,” said the 25-year-old.

“Before the games I try and take a second to take it all in and then I get into game mode.”

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers admitted their last-gasp 2-1 defeat by Lazio was a “devastating” blow after he felt they deserved to be in front.

Luis Palma thought he had given the Scottish champions an 81st-minute lead but it was ruled offside by a lengthy VAR check when the officials decided Daizen Maeda had helped on Alistair Johnston’s cross.

There was a bigger blow to follow five minutes into stoppage-time when Pedro robbed Cameron Carter-Vickers before spraying the ball out wide and running into the box to head home the resulting cross.

Kyogo Furuhashi’s early opener had been cancelled out by Matias Vecino following a 29th-minute corner.

Rodgers said: “I’m bitterly disappointed. 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.”

Carter-Vickers had come off the bench to make his comeback following seven weeks out with a hamstring injury.

Rodgers said: “There’s no blame on Cam, it’s one where they steal the ball from him but if we were in a better position, we deal with the cross.

“That’s the learning for the team – you can’t be coming out from the space unless you have good control of the ball.

“It was a devastating way to lose because we deserved something, but like every game there are learnings and when the Atletico game comes hopefully we can learn the lessons.”

Despite the finest of margins between potential victory and a ninth defeat in 11 Champions League group games at home, the facts remain that Celtic are on zero points from two games in Group E.

Rodgers said: “We were under no illusions at the beginning of the competition where we sat. 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.”

Celtic suffered more Champions League pain at Parkhead as Lazio scored a stoppage-time winner soon after the home side were denied a goal following a lengthy VAR check.

With the score at 1-1, substitute Luis Palma fired home in the 81st minute after Daizen Maeda had attempted an overhead kick from Alistair Johnston’s cross, and the VAR officials decided he was offside.

There was a bigger blow to come when former Barcelona and Chelsea forward Pedro headed home from fellow substitute Matteo Guendouzi’s cross five minutes into stoppage-time to secure the Italian club a 2-1 win in Group E.

Celtic had taken an early lead through Kyogo Furuhashi but Matias Vecino levelled following a 29th-minute corner.

Brendan Rodgers’ side looked the likelier team to find a winner but their 10-year wait for a home victory in the Champions League group stage continues and the ninth defeat in that 11-game run would be the most difficult one to take after a largely encouraging performance.

The tie was a resumption of hostilities from four seasons ago when Celtic triumphed home and away against Lazio in the Europa League, their victory in Rome sealed by Olivier Ntcham, who appeared on a massive pre-match banner among the home fans in the standing section.

Celtic settled quickly and Furuhashi netted his first goal in eight Champions League appearances 12 minutes in.

The Japanese striker’s finish went through the dive of goalkeeper Ivan Provedel after he was played through by a first-time pass from Matt O’Riley after positive play from Maeda.

The atmosphere went up a notch but Celtic did not build on their advantage. Despite having plenty of possession in the aftermath of the goal, most of it was inside their own half and the occasional slack pass put them in danger.

They had a chance on the break when Yang Hyun-jun played Maeda in behind but the Japanese attacker mis-kicked his ambitious effort.

Lazio’s territorial advantage paid off when they won three headers in a row from Luis Alberto’s corner. Joe Hart appeared to have saved the third one from Vecino but the Lithuanian referee ruled the ball had spun behind the line before being clawed away.

Celtic got back on the front foot and O’Riley forced a good save from a first-time strike before getting back to make an important interception to foil a counter-attack.

The start of the second half was finely-balanced. Felipe Anderson failed to make the most of receiving the ball in yards of space inside the Celtic box before the home side came close from a free-kick. Provedel made a good stop from Reo Hatate’s low drive and Johnston fired over from the rebound.

Cameron Carter-Vickers made his comeback from a hamstring injury after a seven-week lay-off when he replaced Nat Phillips while Palma came on for Yang, who had enjoyed some good moments but generally failed to make the most of his possession.

Hart got down well to save Daichi Kamada’s 20-yard drive before Paulo Bernardo snatched at a half-chance at the other end moments after coming on.

Celtic continued to make the running. Palma was briefly bearing down on goal before Alessio Romagnoli slid in to win the ball, Liam Scales attempted an overhead kick which flew over and Furuhashi was denied from close range.

Palma thought he had scored what would have been one of the best-worked goals in the Champions League this week after a lengthy passing move that went from back to front and side to side.

The Honduran winger was booked for taking his shirt off in celebration before the VAR team delivered worse news, and a crushing blow would soon follow to leave Celtic bottom of their group without a point.

Celtic have repeated their request for supporters to stop using pyrotechnics after being hit with another fine from UEFA.

The club said they had been fined 23,400 euros (about £20,260) after fans lit fireworks in the stands ahead of their Champions League group opener against Feyenoord in Rotterdam.

A spokesperson for Celtic said: “Clearly, we are concerned that, despite repeated requests and safety warnings, a small minority continue to use pyrotechnics at Celtic’s matches.

“The use of pyrotechnics represents a serious risk to the safety of our supporters.

“Celtic has been hit with another significant sanction by UEFA due to this behaviour. Again, the club requests that this conduct stops.”

News of the fine came hours before their first home game of the competition against Lazio.

Cameron Carter-Vickers could be in line for a surprise recall when Celtic host Lazio in the Champions League on Wednesday.

The centre-back has not played since suffering a hamstring injury against Aberdeen on August 13.

With Gustaf Lagerbielke missing through suspension following his red card in the Group E opener against Feyenoord, and Maik Nawrocki and Stephen Welsh still out through injury, Rodgers has limited options in central defence.

Liam Scales is set to continue in the team following his impressive recent form, while on-loan Liverpool Nat Phillips is available after coming off the bench at Motherwell on Saturday to make his first appearance since suffering an ankle injury on his debut against Dundee on September 16.

Manager Brendan Rodgers said: “In terms of Nat, he came through fine so he will be available.

“Cam, we wouldn’t take a risk unless he was fit. He has come through really, really well. He is further down the road than we thought.

“He has had a real good week of training and he’s been doing lots of other work out on the field before that.

“I said before that it (his return) might have been after the international break but he’s made great progress, so we will just assess that to see if he can be in for the squad (on Wednesday) and if he is, then obviously it would be great news for us.”

AC Milan turned on the second-half style to record an impressive 2-0 Serie A victory over Lazio.

Christian Pulisic and Noah Okafor were on target to finally end stubborn Lazio resistance at the San Siro, but Rafael Leao was the star attraction in a commanding performance.

Leao set up both Pulisic and Okafor – and the Portugal winger now has 72 goal contributions since joining Milan in 2019.

Felipe Anderson and Valentin Castellanos had half-chances for Lazio during a first period that took some time to burst into life.

But Lazio, who kept Ciro Immobile until the final 15 minutes, were largely toothless up front.

Milan lost Ruben Loftus-Cheek – who had scored his first goal for the Rossoneri against Cagliari in midweek – to an early injury but gained momentum as the contest moved past the half-hour mark.

Leao saw his near-post effort from a tight angle saved by Ivan Provedel in the Lazio goal.

The deadlock was almost broken on the stroke of half-time after Olivier Giroud brought Provedel into action again.

Provedel could not hold the shot and the loose ball fell to Tijjani Reijnders, who took it around the goalkeeper but, off balance, back-heeled it against the outside of a post.

Milan really upped the tempo after the break and took a deserved lead after an hour.

Leao surged down the left and his cut-back found Pulisic unmarked on the penalty spot.

The American’s shot had enough to get past Provedel for his third goal of the season, although the goalkeeper got a hand to the effort.

Provedel distinguished himself by saving from Yunus Musah after the American had brought the ball down and fired goalwards in one sharp movement.

Reijnders fired into the side netting before Milan put the issue beyond doubt two minutes from time.

Leao was again the instigator with another excellent run and cross which allowed Okafor to convert with a simple tap-in.

It was Okafor’s second Milan goal after his first for the club in the 3-1 win at Cagliari.

Lazio were denied a spectacular consolation in the fourth minute of stoppage time when Spanish substitute Pedro sent a 25-yard shot into the top corner of Mike Maignan’s net.

The officials had spotted an offside in the build-up and there was to be no joy for Lazio after a VAR check.

This was Milan’s third successive league win, while Lazio’s season has yet to get going after this fourth defeat in seven games.

Stefano Pioli is using the pain of derby defeat as fresh inspiration as he attempts to steer AC Milan to success this season.

The Rossoneri were trounced 5-1 by Inter Milan a fortnight ago and then drew 0-0 with Newcastle in their Champions League opener.

They have since beaten Verona and Cagliari to go level on points with Inter at the top of the Serie A table and manager Pioli, who found himself under intense pressure in the wake of a difficult week, is keen to draw a line under the derby day disappointment ahead of Saturday’s home clash with Lazio.


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He told a press conference: “We are doing well, we want to find the right continuity to do well in the league and in the Champions League. We need to focus only on tomorrow.


“We have always lived with balance between negative and positive moments. The derby was not the end of our journey, but a new beginning to start from.

“Now we are not perfect, we are not flawless, but we can put our best performance on the field tomorrow.”

Pioli will hope to have key players back for the weekend, with goalkeeper Mike Maignan having sat out Wednesday’s 3-1 win at Cagliari through injury, while strikers Olivier Giroud and Rafael Leao started on the bench with the former not leaving it.

However, the Milan boss was coy about his team selection when asked about the depth of his squad.


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Pioli said: “I am convinced of the quality of my players, but we have to keep moving forward.

“After the break, a new season started. To stay at the top, we need to be strong in every aspect. Now we only think about tomorrow.”

Lazio will arrive at the San Siro after clinching just their second win of the campaign in midweek, when they beat Torino 2-0 at the Stadio Olimpico.

Pioli will hope a third successive victory will ease the tide of criticism which has come his way, although he remains philosophical.

He said: “It’s useless to talk about the criticisms. We are Milan, we want to win and be competitive. The club is following a wonderful path, already capable of winning and to put the accounts right. Everyone is working very well.

“We are Milan, the praise and criticism are high. It’s part of our job.”

Dusan Vlahovic struck twice as Juventus beat Lazio 3-1 at the Allianz Stadium to briefly climb top of Serie A.

The Serbia striker and Federico Chiesa gave Juve a 2-0 interval lead and after Luis Alberto had pulled one back for the visitors, Vlahovic produced another emphatic finish.

Massimiliano Allegri’s side, without the suspended Paul Pogba following his recent positive drugs test, have leapfrogged Inter and AC Milan into top spot ahead of their derby clash at 5pm.

Juve went straight on the offensive and Filip Kostic’s angled drive was palmed away by Lazio goalkeeper Ivan Provedel before Vlahovic slammed home Manuel Locatelli’s superb cross at the near post in the 10th minute.

The goal stood after VAR had checked whether the ball had gone into touch during the build-up.

Kostic forced Provedel into another save and successive headers from Weston McKennie and Vlahovic were narrowly off target as Juve continued to threaten.

Daichi Kamada had Lazio’s first shot on target in the 25th minute, which was held by Wojciech Szczesny and the visitors fell 2-0 behind less than 60 seconds later.

Adrien Rabiot tried to make room for a shot inside the penalty area and the ball broke for Chiesa, who buried an emphatic finish into the bottom corner.

Fabio Miretti was a fraction away from adding a third with a shot from outside the penalty area before Lazio twice went close to reducing the deficit on the stroke of half-time.

Ciro Immobile’s header from Felipe Anderson’s cross and Mattia Zaccagni’s angled effort both forced Szczesny into full-length saves.

Provedel kept Juve at bay early in the second period, saving successive headers from Rabiot, but Lazio began to threaten.

Anderson dragged his effort wide after being played in by Luis Alberto, who then pulled one back for the visitors in the 64th minute as he crashed a shot into the top corner from outside the box.

Juve regained their two-goal lead three minutes later when Vlahovic arrowed home his fourth goal of the season into the bottom corner.

Danilo, Arkadiusz Milik and Timothy Weah all went close to extending Juve’s lead in the closing stages and after Valentin Castellanos fired wide for Lazio, Milik headed Rabiot’s cross narrowly off target.

Juventus boss Massimiliano Allegri has challenged his team to “find an extra gear” when they take on Lazio in Serie A on Saturday.

The Turin giants are unbeaten in their opening three outings of the season, winning 2-0 at Empoli in their last game before the international break.

Lazio bounced back from losing their opening two matches by winning 2-1 at champions Napoli and Allegri knows they will pose a stern test at the Allianz Stadium.

He said at a press conference: “Tomorrow will be a tough game and we have to be 100 per cent focused on this game alone.

“Lazio are a direct rival for the top four. Lazio are a well-organised team, both in defence and attack.

“Tomorrow we’ll be at home, so we’ll see if we can find an extra gear to click into after the win at Empoli. There’s a good atmosphere in the group and it’s always tough to choose who will start.

“But it’s good to know that we have a competitive squad and that will be important to qualify for next season’s Champions League. It’s a young group with a lot of desire, and tomorrow is a big test.”

Allegri said there was a “good chance” Federico Chiesa would start, having recovered from the muscle issue which forced him to withdraw from the Italy squad.

Having Chiesa available will be a welcome boost for Allegri, the forward having already scored twice this season.

Allegri said he could not comment on the situation facing Paul Pogba, who has been provisionally suspended by Italy’s national anti-doping tribunal after testing positive for testosterone.

“We’re sorry about the whole situation and are waiting for developments and further clarity,” he said.

“We hope that light will be shed on what has happened as soon as possible. I can’t comment on other issues because they concern Paul directly and they are strictly personal.”

He also declined to elaborate further on the reasons behind Leonardo Bonucci’s sudden departure to German side Union Berlin earlier this month.

“I’ve already said everything I have to say about Bonucci, a number of times,” he said. “I don’t feel the need to say any more, I only wish him the best of luck for the rest of his career.”

Defenders Maik Nawrocki, Alexandro Bernabei and Yuki Kobayashi have missed out on Celtic’s Champions League squad.

Polish centre-back Nawrocki is out injured with a hamstring problem and faces a continued lay-off of about six weeks along with fellow defenders Cameron Carter-Vickers and Stephen Welsh.

The latter pair have made the 25-man squad with Welsh’s homegrown credentials a potential factor in the decision.

Celtic since signed Nat Phillips on loan from Liverpool to deal with their injury list at the back, with fellow summer signing Gustaf Lagerbielke in the pool too.

Japanese central defender Kobayashi is expected to return to fitness soon following an ankle injury but he is not listed in the squad.

Bernabei has played twice this season but has not made the cut with Liam Scales a potential back-up for left-back Greg Taylor after impressing in central defence in the recent win over Rangers.

There is also no place for goalkeeper Benjamin Siegrist, midfielder Kwon Hyeok-kyu and summer signing Marco Tilio, who arrived at Celtic with an injury, along with James McCarthy, who last featured in October last year.

Celtic begin their European campaign in Rotterdam next Tuesday against Feyenoord and also face Lazio and Atletico Madrid in their group.

Lazio forward Daichi Kamada sealed his side’s 2-1 win at Napoli as the defending Serie A champions slipped to their first defeat of the season.

The Japan international struck early in the second half after Napoli captain Piotr Zielinski had cancelled out Luis Alberto’s opener before half-time.

Napoli, who finished last season 16 points clear of runners-up Lazio, spurned a hatful of chances after dominating the first half.

But the visitors were well disciplined at the back and always dangerous on the break as they secured their first win of the season.

Napoli made the better start as winger Khvicha Kvaratskhelia had two early shots blocked and Lazio goalkeeper Ivan Provedel saved twice from Mathias Olivera and Zielinski.

Victor Osimhen headed a scoring chance wide and Kvaratskhelia was denied by another smart Provedel save before Lazio struck against the run of play after half an hour.

Felipe Anderson’s pass inside the box found Luis Alberto and the Spanish midfielder finished with an impressive back-heel into the far corner.

But Napoli’s response was almost immediate as Provedel was left helpless when Poland winger Zielinski’s drilled shot from outside the penalty was deflected past him two minutes later.

The home side continued to rack up the chances before the break, with Osimhen and Olivera both firing off target.

Provedel produced another fine save early in the second half, beating away Zielinski’s swerving volley before Lazio stunned the home fans at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona with a second goal in the 52nd minute.

Felipe Anderson burst down the right on the counter and his cut-back to the edge of the area was dummied by Luis Alberto, allowing Japan forward Kamada to take one touch before burying a low finish.

Napoli looked to his straight back again and blocked shots from Kvaratskhelia and Stanislav Lobotka sandwiched another long-range effort from Zielinski.

Lazio caught their hosts out twice more on the break and the Napoli faithful breathed huge sighs of relief as two efforts from the visitors were ruled out for offside in the space of four minutes.

Mattia Zaccagni and debutant Matteo Guendouzi both thought they had made it 3-1 before VAR intervention spared Napoli, with the latter’s strike viewed by the referee on the pitchside monitor.

Luis Alberto went close to wrapping it up for Lazio when he curled a shot narrowly wide in the 85th minute.

Napoli applied late pressure, but failed to breach Lazio’s impressive defence and substitute Jesper Lindstrom blazed the ball high and wide when presented a chance in the closing stages.

Tottenham have opened talks with Lazio over the proposed departure of former captain Hugo Lloris.

Lloris made clear earlier this summer his desire for a new challenge after 11 years at Spurs and was not involved in Sunday’s 2-2 draw at Brentford.

The World Cup winner is now closing in on a switch to Lazio after talks between the clubs started, but a final agreement on a fee is still to be reached, the PA news agency understands.

If Lloris does leave, as has always been expected in this transfer window, his final appearance for Tottenham would be the thumping 6-1 loss at Newcastle in April.

A thigh injury ruled Lloris out of the final weeks of the campaign and the French keeper revealed in June his desire “to do other things” in the future.

While no move was forthcoming during the early part of the transfer window, Spurs’ focus was on Bayern Munich’s public pursuit of Harry Kane and incomings with James Maddison able to sign.

Lloris was left out of the club’s pre-season tour of Perth, Bangkok and Singapore in July to explore transfer opportunities, but Kane moved on before the Frenchman with his switch to Bayern finalised on Saturday.

Spurs announced their new captain on the same day with Son Heung-min named as Lloris’ successor, while Cristian Romeo and Maddison were listed as vice-captains.

Lloris retained his number one shirt when Tottenham unveiled their squad numbers on Sunday, but he was left out of the squad at Brentford despite back-up goalkeeper Fraser Forster injured with a back problem.

It meant academy graduate Brandon Austin was named on the bench as deputy to new number one Guglielmo Vicario, who endured some nervy moments on his Premier League debut.

Vicario will be able to move forward at Tottenham without the shadow of Lloris after talks between Lazio and the club stepped up this week.

With Lloris still having a year left on his contract, Spurs hope to get a fee for their former captain but it is now expected the 36-year-old will begin the next chapter of his career in Italy.

Lloris will leave Tottenham after 447 appearances and 151 clean sheets, having helped the club reach three finals during his 11 years, including the 2019 Champions League Final.

Milan pushed on in the battle for a top-four Serie A finish as Ismael Bennacer and Theo Hernandez scored in a 2-0 win over Lazio at San Siro.

Stefano Pioli's side were in full control from the off, though Lazio were masters of their own downfall for the opening goal as Marcos Antonio's error allowed Bennacer to bundle home. 

Hernandez doubled Milan's advantage before the break with a terrific solo effort, helping the Rossoneri to fourth in Serie A ahead of Inter's crucial clash with Roma later on Saturday. 

However, Milan's victory was marred by the sight of star forward Rafael Leao limping from the field early on, with the first leg of their Champions League semi-final tie against Inter just four days away.

Having rested several players for Wednesday's draw with Cremonese, Pioli may have regretted naming a more familiar lineup when Leao was withdrawn just 11 minutes in – the forward appearing to suffer a groin injury.

Yet Milan made light of his absence as Bennacer pounced on a Lazio mix-up, combining with Olivier Giroud before volleying into the ground and over Ivan Provedel.

Milan doubled their lead from a lightning break 12 minutes later. Hernandez received the ball from Mike Maignan near his own penalty area before driving forward and lashing home from 20 yards via a slight deflection.

Lazio failed to record a single shot on target before the break, and Milan continued to dominate after the interval as substitute Malick Thiaw powered a header over from Sandro Tonali's corner. 

Milan were denied a late third when Ante Rebic slotted home from an offside position, but it was of little consequence as they warmed up for Wednesday's Champions League derby in style.

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