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UEFA Champions League: Juventus 2 Celtic 0 (agg. 5-0)

Juventus cruised into the quarter-finals of the Champions League with a comfortable 2-0 win over Celtic at Juventus Stadium on Wednesday.

With a 3-0 advantage from the first leg, Antonio Conte’s men proved devastating on the counterattack as goals from Alessandro Matri and Fabio Quagliarella either side of the break ensured place in the last eight.

Joe Ledley attempted to give Celtic some direction from midfield, but it was not until the 21st minute that they looked liked breaking through a defence that had conceded just four times in their seven European matches this season.

The Wales midfielder arrowed a sweetly-struck attempt from 25 yards, only to see his shot go agonisingly close to finding the top corner.

But, against the run of play, Neil Lennon’s men suffered a hammer blow as the Serie A champions took the lead three minutes later.

Gary Hooper was caught on the ball by Andrea Barzagli and the centre-back fed Quagliarella inside the area. Fraser Forster was equal to the forward’s shot but could only send it into the path of Matri, who followed up for a simple finish.

Hooper almost immediately atoned for his error as his touch drastically changed the direction of Kris Commons’ shot, but Gianluigi Buffon readjusted to turn the ball to safety.

However, there was nothing the Italy goalkeeper could do as Giorgios Samaras drifted in from the left and flashed a low cross across the face of the goal, though Hooper failed to react quick enough as the pass evaded his desperate lunge.

At the start of the second half Juventus showed a greater desire to attack and could well have doubled their lead soon after the restart. Matri teed up Quagliarella inside the area, though this time Forster was able to parry the striker’s shot away to safety.

Celtic’s ambition had visibly taken a knock and a free header from Efe Ambrose that bounced down and cleared the crossbar just before the hour mark was as close as they came to finding the net.

Juve would once more make the visitors rue that missed chance as Arturo Vidal beat the offside trap, latching onto an exquisite Andrea Pirlo pass and squaring for Quagliarella to add the finishing touch with 65 minutes played.

The tempo of the game soon fizzled out with the outcome clearly finalised, leaving Celtic winless in 10 visits to Italy.

Wed 6 March, 2013
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