Champions League - Juventus finish job on Celtic to advance

Champions League last 16 second leg, Juventus Stadium - Juventus 2 (Matri 24, Quagliarella 65) Celtic 0; Juventus go through 5-0 on aggregate

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Juventus celebrate (AFP)

Juventus strolled into the Champions League quarter-finals with a 2-0 home victory over Celtic for a 5-0 aggregate success.

The Scottish champions hoped at the very least to end their European adventure, which took in a historic win over Barcelona, on a positive note but found themselves stung once again by the 'rope-a-dope' of Antonio Conte's men.

After a 3-0 smash-and-grab in Glasgow, Juventus were set comfortably and able to soak up early Celtic pressure before catching them off guard twice: Alessandro Matri in the first half and Fabio Quagliarella in the second, each from close range.

Juve have now made it five straight Champions League clean sheets and join Real Madrid, Borussia Dortmund and Paris Saint-Germain in the last eight.

Bhoys boss Neil Lennon promised at the pre-match press conference that his side would at least go out fighting, and with superior early passing stats and more meaningful surges forward, they were doing just that.

The Serie A champions, however, were happy to defend their first-leg lead in the pragmatically patient manner associated with Italy over the years, and took the lead on 24 minutes to pretty much seal progress.

Quagliarella, whose energy had been one of the keys to keeping the guests subdued, turned and crafted a shot from out of nowhere which went through Kelvin Wilson’s legs and was meekly parried by Fraser Forster.

Matri pounced on the loose ball for his fifth goal in nine games this calendar year, and as with the first leg Celtic’s intrepid approach looked to be playing into Juve’s hands.

The visitors came agonisingly close to an equaliser twice in quick succession after falling behind on the night, with Kris Commons’s strike taking a nick off Gary Hooper to wrong-foot Gianluigi Buffon only for the keeper to get a leg to it regardless.

Five minutes later, Georgios Samaras embarked on a great run down the left before crossing low into the six-yard box where Hooper was inches away from a point-blank tap-in.

Juve, though, began the second half hot, and almost doubled their lead when a stray pass by Charlie Mulgrew led to Paul Pogba putting Matri through in the area, with Quagliarella forcing a parry from Forster when the ball came off the heels of his strike partner.

Worse news came for Lennon shortly after when Adam Matthews pulled up clutching his hamstring and had to be replaced, while it transpired that Victor Wanyama, withdrawn at half-time, also had hamstring problems.

Quagliarella would get his goal on 65 minutes to make the rainy evening in Turin an even more forgettable one for the SPL outfit.

Andrea Pirlo launched a superb trademark diagonal into the Celtic box, allowing Arturo Vidal to make a mockery of the offside trap and selflessly square for the forward to tap into an empty net.

The visitors spent the remainder of the contest launching shots from distance either off-target or straight at Buffon, probably grateful to get out of the Juventus Stadium without further injury woes.

But it was a shame for manager Lennon, his players and the thousands of travelling supporters that such a memorable European campaign had ended with just a wet whimper.


Fabio Quagliarella (Juventus): The Italians had no reason to leave second gear with a 3-0 first-leg advantage, but the striker insisted on putting in a dynamic performance to help ensure zero shocks in Turin. Took a goal and an assist for his troubles.


JUVENTUS: Buffon 8, Barzagli 7, Marrone 7, Bonucci 8, Padoin 7, Vidal 7, Pirlo 7, Pogba 7, Peluso 6; Matri 7, Quagliarella 9; Subs: Asamoah 6, Giaccherini 6, Isla 6.

CELTIC: Forster 5, Matthews 6, Wilson 8, Wanyama 7, Izaguirre 6, Samaras 6, Kayal 6, Ledley 7, Mulgrew 5, Commons 7, Hooper 5; Subs: Ambrose 6, Lassad 5, Forrest 6.


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