Under heavy rain at the Juventus Stadium, goals from Alessandro Matri and Fabio Quagliarella meant that the tie finished 5-0 on aggregate. The visitors put on a fine show and had more of the possession, but despite having several attempts on goal were never really able to turn this second-round match into something that looked like a comeback. The Bianconeri now await a much sterner test in the quarter finals.
So what did we learn from the tie?
Celtic had 57 percent possession in Turin and 14 shots to Juventus' eight. They had more shots on target and more shots saved, but they finished five goals adrift on aggregate.
In the modern game, where technology has made the most minute details of a match readily accessible for everyone to devour and mull over for days or even weeks on end, we can sometimes forget that only one statistic really counts at the end of the day: the number of goals scored.
Juventus' game plan doesn't have to be centred around possession, and shooting is all about quality rather than quantity. One hundred shots saved are worth less than a single one scored, so it's erroneous to point to the stats as evidence of a team's superiority. When it counted most, Juventus had what it took. Celtic didn't.
After crashing out of Europe's biggest competition, most managers tend to sulk, rant or pass the blame. Celtic's Neil Lennon did no such thing and should be commended for taking the high road.
Only the most deluded fan could say that, on paper, Celtic's squad was superior to that of Juve, and while the dream was certainly an engrossing, romantic one, it had to end sooner or later. The manner in which the Scottish side acquitted themselves this season in the UCL should fill Hoops fans with pride—as should their manager's dignified manner after the game.
Speaking at the press conference, Lennon said:
The difference is quality. Quality counts and that was the difference between the two teams over both games. I think over the two games we played very well but we were just a little bit short in some areas. There is no disgrace in that. Juventus are a fantastic team with a great work ethic. Maybe they don't have the flamboyance of a Barcelona but they work so hard for each other, have great balance and are a threat going forward. They've got a great chance of winning it and I hope they do.
No excuses, "what ifs" or accusations. If only more managers could be so magnanimous in defeat.
It's a cliche to say that form is temporary and class permanent, but it's one of those hackneyed phrases that just happens to ring true.
Gianluigi Buffon has been one of Europe's top goalkeepers for almost 15 years now, and while he often has little to do, such is the quality of squad playing in front of him, whenever the former Parma man is called up for club or country, he delivers.
As ever, he marshaled his defence excellently, and his one-handed reaction save to deny Kris Commons' shot that deflected off Gary Hooper was exquisite and proof of the World Cup winner's ability. As if such proof was needed.
Fabio Quagliarella's evening was characterised by plenty of energy and no shortage of intelligent movement, repeatedly working to get in behind Celtic's defenders.
Linking up excellently with Alessandro Matri throughout, his shot helped set up Matri's opener, and the man from south of Naples pounced on the also-excellent Arturo Vidal's cutback to slot home Juventus' second of the night.
He was as calm and collected in front of goal as ever, and no matter who the Bianconeri will now face in the next round, his clever runs and ability to pose a constant threat by playing and breaking off the shoulder of the last defender will worry their defenders.
Tougher challenges lay ahead, but such is the cool and collected manner in which Juventus handle themselves every time they walk onto the pitch that they look like genuine contenders for this year's Champions League.
Alessandro Matri's early strike put this tie to bed before 25 minutes had passed—exactly the kind of control winning sides must exert at this level.
Of Europe's heavyweights, Real Madrid looked a long way from what their best should be against Manchester United. Juventus know they can beat AC Milan, and having seen their Italian rivals undo Barcelona, they know the Catalan giants are not invincible, either. Paris Saint-Germain are unlikely to worry Antonio Conte too much, either, leaving Bayern Munich as the most obvious obstacle.
They won't have it so easy in the next round, but Juventus are now surely among the favourites.