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Clinical Juventus catch Celtic cold

Published: Tuesday 12 February 2013, 22.50CET
Celtic FC 0-3 Juventus
The visitors withstood fierce home pressure after Alessandro Matri's early goal before Claudio Marchisio and Mirko Vučinić gave them a clear advantage.
by Alex O'Henley
from Celtic Park

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Published: Tuesday 12 February 2013, 22.50CET

Clinical Juventus catch Celtic cold

Celtic FC 0-3 Juventus
The visitors withstood fierce home pressure after Alessandro Matri's early goal before Claudio Marchisio and Mirko Vučinić gave them a clear advantage.

Juventus produced a display of resolute defending and clinical counterattacking to move within touching distance of reaching the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals for the first time in seven seasons thanks to an emphatic win at Celtic FC.

Alessandro Matri opened the scoring in the third minute and, though the Italian champions were put under strong pressure, they held firm before increasing their lead on the counterattack in the closing stages. Marchisio added a second on 77 minutes and Mirko Vučinić took the Bianconeri within sight of a first last-eight place since 2005/06 with a third goal seven minutes from time.

Celtic had threatened first, Victor Wanyama stinging the palms of Gianluigi Buffon from long range with barely 60 seconds on the clock, but almost immediately Juventus broke upfield. Neil Lennon included Efe Ambrose in his starting lineup hours after his return from Nigeria's victorious Africa Cup of Nations campaign and the defender was caught under a high ball from Federico Peluso, allowing Matri to knock the ball past him and slot under the advancing Fraser Forster despite Kelvin Wilson's attempt to prevent it going over the line.

Marchisio made sure by firing the loose ball high into the net but referee Alberto Undiano Mallenco had already awarded the goal having been alerted by the additional assistant referee stationed on the line beside Forster's left-hand post.

The Hoops pressed hard for an equaliser, Kris Commons bringing out another save from Buffon and directing an overhead kick just past the post. However, Antonio Conte's men appeared the more composed side and their constant pressing meant Celtic struggled to find any passing rhythm.

The visitors seemed content to sit back as the second period unfolded and, although they now dominated possession, the Scottish title holders were still struggling to create clear-cut chances. Ominously, Andrea Pirlo was starting to direct play in front of the Juve back three, although the strategy was not without risk, emphasised by Charlie Mulgrew's pinpoint left-wing cross that picked out Ambrose unmarked in front of goal. The defender could only head into the arms of Buffon.

Juventus were looking dangerous on the counterattack, however, and on 67 minutes only Wilson's outstretched leg denied Vučinić. The Serie A team were not to be denied and with 13 minutes remaining Matri played in the excellent Marchisio, who turned inside Scott Brown before slotting past Forster at the near post.

With Celtic's eight-match unbeaten home run against Italian opposition coming to an end, Juventus – losers on their two previous visits to Celtic Park – scored a crowning third in the 83rd minute. Once more Marchisio was at the heart of the move, dispossessing Ambrose and supplying Vučinić to drive beyond Forster and put Juve in a comfortable position for the Turin return on 6 March.

Last updated: 17/12/13 9.07CET

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