Celtic vs Juventus Review: Bianconeri Defy Parkhead to Romp Home 3-0
Juventus have done what the likes of Barcelona and many before them haven't been able to do at Celtic Park by defeating Celtic comprehensively in front of a sold-out crowd in Glasgow. In the end Antonio Conte's men prevailed 3-0 to effectively end the round-of-16 tie.
In what was probably the most intriguing clash of the UEFA Champions League knockout phases, Celtic welcomed Juventus to Celtic Park, boasting a home record unmatched by most clubs around the world—they had won 21 out of their last 23 home UCL matches.
It was an electric atmosphere at Parkhead as both sides lined up before kick-off.
Celtic came out all guns blazing and by all accurate accounts it looked as though Conte's men were going to get a run for their money at Celtic Park. And it was Celtic who were on the early ascendancy with Victor Wanyama testing Gianluigi Buffon early. But that ascendancy was short-lived, with Conte's men breaking to good effect from the resulting corner.
A long ball by Federico Peluso flew over the head of Efe Ambrose to find a charging Alessandro Matri. The Italian international then poked the ball past Fraser Forster. Efforts to clear by Kelvin Wilson proved unsuccessful as Claudio Marchisio thundered home the rebound. The goal was later re-awarded to Matri after it was shown his initial touch did indeed cross the line.
Juve was up 1-0 after three minutes.
GOAL! #CelticJuve 0-1. Marchisio is perfectly placed to tap home after Matri's initial effort is cleared off the line. Great start by Juve!— JuventusFC (@juventusfc) February 12, 2013
Down 1-0 at home, Celtic began to re-gather. Yet again it was Wanyama testing Buffon from outside the box, but to no avail.
Kris Commons got in on the act soon after, forcing Buffon to get down to his right after Emilio Izaguirre's cross was only partly cleared—but the Italian shot-stopper was having none of it. Up the other end, Juventus forward Mirko Vucinic successfully rounded Forster in goal. However, his touch was too heavy to allow him to double the Old Lady's lead.
Despite being down a goal early, the Hoops were really having a go at the Juventus defence. When Common's audacious bicycle-kick almost beat Buffon at the far post, the Juventus No. 1 began to kick them into gear.
Andrea Pirlo was certainly receiving his fair share of attention in the middle of the park. Neil Lennon had made it no secret that the home side would target the Juventus playmaker, and although James Forrest rattled the Italian international, he received a yellow for his efforts.
As the first half drew to a close Stephan Lichtsteiner and Gary Hooper comically both received yellow cards for a tussle in the box which had us all puzzled.
Despite winning 5-2 corners in the first half, Celtic went in behind at the break, albeit the more impressive of the two sides.
The second half began in much the same way as the first, with Celtic desperate to chase the game and preserve their emphatic home record. Despite this, fouls early on gifted Juventus possession on far too many occasions.
Both Celtic's full-backs were playing their roles to impressive effect. But the absence of Georgios Samaras up front effectively rendered Mikael Lustig's and Izaguirre's crosses useless.
The Juventus back three of Leonardo Bonucci, Andrea Barzagli and Martin Caceres were in impressive form in the air, nullifying all air activity.
As the second half wore on, both sides began to settle. In the 60th minute Celtic almost opened their account. Ambrose was given a brilliant chance to redeem his error that led to the opener. Following a well-worked corner, Charlie Mulgrew played a delightful ball to an unmarked Ambrose.
However, the header from the Nigerian international was collected by Buffon, much to the despair of the home supporters.
There was no doubting Juve's tactics in the closing phases of the tie. They weren't dissimilar to that of Jose Mourinho's Inter Milan of 2010, perhaps with a little more forward pressing. Conte was definitely keen to hold on to the lead they had established.
With just 15 minutes left to preserve their home record, the Celtic bench turned to Tony Watt to try and bridge the gap. The 19-year-old's introduction yielded two corners, but Celtic was unable to make anything off either ball.
Then, just minutes later, the Bianconeri put this game to bed—and quite possibly the tie—as Matri linked up quite brilliantly with Marchisio on the counter. Il Principino made no mistake of the one-two, slotting home from close range to double Juventus' lead and bag the defending Italian champions' second away goal.
GOAL! #CelticJuve 0-2. Matri's magnificent touch plays in Marchisio, who turns his marker before lashing the ball beyond Forster!— JuventusFC (@juventusfc) February 12, 2013
It wasn't to end there though, as Juventus added a third for good measure. Mirko Vucinic continued on from where he left off on the weekend. Marchisio this time turned provider for a rampaging Vucinic, and the forward finished in a similar fashion to Juventus' second.
GOAL! #CelticJuve 0-3. Marchisio slides in Vucinic and the striker makes no mistake with a cool finish from close range!— JuventusFC (@juventusfc) February 12, 2013
For the record, that was Juventus' 700th goal in Europe.
Nicolas Anelka was introduced into the fray in the late stages of the match, but his substitution counted for nothing as the Bianconeri put the 43-time Scottish champions to the sword, sending a clear message to the rest of Europe.
For Celtic, it will be a matter of preserving embarrassment in the second leg tie.
Full Time: Cetlic 0-3 Juventus
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