Football

Simone Inzaghi hails Lazio’s return to the Champions League's last 16

Lazio reached the last 16 of the Champions League for the first time in two decades after a 2-2 draw against 10-man Club Brugge in Rome yesterday morning (Singapore time).

The Italian outfit finished second in Group F behind Borussia Dortmund and booked their spot in the knockout stage for the first time since the 1999/00 season, when they reached the quarter-finals with current coach Simone Inzaghi on their playing staff.

"We are in the top 16 in Europe without ever having lost. It's a deserved qualification that we have earned on the pitch," said Inzaghi, whose side recorded two wins and four draws.

"The disappointment is not being able to celebrate with our fans because I can only imagine what the atmosphere would have been in the Stadio Olimpico tonight."

Lazio needed just a draw to qualify with Brugge requiring a win. The hosts twice took the lead through Joaquin Correa and Ciro Immobile, but Brugge equalised via Ruud Vormer and Hans Vanaken but had Eduard Sobol sent off.

In Group F's other match, Dortmund defeated Zenit St Petersburg 2-1, with substitute striker Youssoufa Moukoko, aged 16 years and 18 days, becoming the youngest player in Champions League history.

Sebastian Driussi opened the scoring for Zenit before goals by Lukasz Piszczek and Axel Witsel sealed the win for the German side. - AFP

Football