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12 Feb 2013

Bianconeri silence Celtic Park

A clinical second half performance in Glasgow sees Marchisio and Vucinic add to Matri’s early strike to seal an emphatic victory for Conte’s side

Juventus put one foot in the Champions League quarter-finals with a magnificent 3-0 win over reigning Scottish champions Celtic on a memorable night at Parkhead.

The Bianconeri gave their hopes of progression from the last 16 an early boost when Alessandro Matri shrugged off the challenge of Efe Ambrose to roll the ball past Fraser Forster with just three minutes on the clock.

After weathering a solid spell of Celtic pressure throughout a hard-fought second half, Conte’s men silenced the vociferous home crowd by placing themselves firmly in the driving seat with late finishes from Claudio Marchisio and Mirko Vucinic.

In the deafening cauldron of Celtic Park, Juventus somewhat dampened the high spirits of the Glasgow faithful by seizing the initiative early in the match with a goal after just three minutes of play.

Ambrose failed to deal with an aerial pass from Peluso and Matri pounced on the error to prod the ball between the legs of the onrushing Forster. Despite the best efforts of Wilson, his last ditch defending could not prevent the ball from rolling over the line.

The hosts were looking lively in the early stages of a first half played at a breathtaking tempo. However, the Bianconeri were largely successful in limiting Celtic to strikes from distance. Commons and Wanyama did ask some questions of Buffon with several threatening efforts but the veteran shotstopper proved up to the task.

Commons in particular had two opportunities to put his side back on terms. With 14 minutes on the clock, a cross was whipped in from the left flank, but the 29-year-old couldn’t keep his effort on the half-volley down. Commons also fashioned a meaningful chance via an overhead kick which passed narrowly wide of the woodwork.

Feisty duels between Brown and Pirlo and also between Hooper and Lichtsteiner added some additional sparks to an already fiery atmosphere. Hooper and Lichtsteiner were the first names to go in referee Mallenco’s book after several clashes in the build up to corner kicks.

After the interval, Celtic’s main attacking threat continued to stem from crosses and headers. Arguably their best chance of the match came via a header from Ambrose who found himself unmarked in the box but failed to generate enough power to trouble the Juve skipper.

For much of the second half, the Bianconeri seemed content to sit back and absorb wave after wave of attacks from an enthusiastic Celtic outfit. However, with the Scots seeming to tire in the final 20 minutes, spaces opened up for Juve, who sniffed an opportunity to go in for the kill.

Pirlo and Matri combined in a clinical counter attacking move which put Marchisio through on goal. The Italian international cut inside Matthews and powered his shot past a diving Forster to double the advantage on 77 minutes.

Just six minutes later, the Bianconeri midfield pressed high up the pitch and caught Ambrose in possession deep inside his own half. With Lennon’s side left exposed at the back, Marchisio stroked a pass into the path of Vucinic, who calmly guided the ball beyond Forster to seal the result, and allow the visitors to take a comfortable lead back to Juventus Stadium.

Antonio Conte will be thrilled with his side’s fine performance, which brought a convincing end to the Scottish champions’ five-game unbeaten run at home in Europe this season. However, the Juventus manager will caution against complacency and remind his sqaud that there is still 90 minutes of football to be played next month in Turin before confirming a place in the next round.

CELTIC 0-3 JUVENTUS

GOALS: Matri 3, Marchisio 77, Vucinic 83

CELTIC

Forster; Lustig (Matthews 58), Wilson, Ambrose, Izaguirre; Mulgrew; Brown (Kayal 80), Wanyama, Forrest, Commons (Watt 73); Hooper.

Substitutes not used: Zaluska, Ledley, Miku, Nouioui.

Manager: Lennon.

JUVENTUS

Buffon; Barzagli, Bonucci, Caceres; Lichtsteiner, Vidal, Pirlo, Marchisio, Peluso (Padoin 69); Matri (Pogba 81), Vucinic (Anelka 86)

Substitutes not used: Storari, Marrone, Giovinco, Quagliarella.

Manager: Conte

REFEREE: Mallenco (ESP)

ASSISTANTS: Perez del Palomar (ESP), Guadamuro (ESP)

FOURTH OFFICAL: Martinez (ESP)

BOOKINGS: Hooper 37, Lichtsteiner 37, Forrest 42, Padoin 76, Brown 76, Marchisio 89