Celtic's Champions League dreams ended by Juventus in Turin
By Rachel Griffiths - Follow me on Twitter @SkySportsRachG. Last Updated: March 7, 2013 12:13am
Celtic saw their extraordinary UEFA Champions League campaign come to an end in Turin on Wednesday night as Juventus finished the job they had started in Glasgow, winning 2-0 to seal a 5-0 aggregate victory and advance to the quarter-finals.
Goals from Alessandro Matri and Fabio Quagliarella either side of the break finished off Neil Lennon's men, who created a host of chances but lacked the all-important finish as they failed to turn Juve's imposing first-leg advantage around.
Celtic looked lively going forward throughout the first half, with the first of several dangerous-looking Emilio Izaguirre crosses breaking into the box in the seventh minute but heading straight into Gianluigi Buffon's waiting gloves. Federico Peluso then saw the first yellow card of the game 10 minutes later for his boisterous attempts to contain Adam Matthews down the right.
The home side had half-chances on the break, with former Manchester United man Paul Pogba swivelling in the box and testing Fraser Forster with a shot that he eventually managed to smother, while a tame Quagliarella effort had trickled wide minutes later, but it was Celtic who had the first real opportunity of the encounter on 21 minutes as Joe Ledley unleashed a fizzing drive from 25 yards which looked destined for the top right-hand corner but flew inches wide.
Lennon proud despite defeat
Juve's breakthrough came just moments later, with Peluso the architect as he teed up Quagliarella for a shot inside the box, which Forster failed to properly deal with, clearing it only as far as Matri. The Italian made no mistake pouncing on the rebound and slipping it home with apparent ease.
That goal left Lennon's troops with an even bigger mountain to climb but the Bhoys refused to sit back, with Buffon forced to pull off a terrific reflex save from a Hooper deflection.
Izaguirre was caught napping moments later as Arturo Vidal found himself in space at the other end but skied his shot from 20 yards into the stands as Juve missed a chance to double their lead.
Celtic's best chance of the first half came 10 minutes before the break as Georgios Samaras shrugged off Leonardo Bonucci to square the ball across the face of goal, with Hooper charging in to meet it with his leg outstretched, but he could not apply the crucial finish as a glaring opportunity went begging. Another Izaguirre ball then fell to the head of Beram Kayal in the box as the minutes trickled down, but the Hoops man could not get enough power behind his header and barely troubled Buffon.
Forster ended the first half with a save when he dived low to keep out Vidal and the second period began in a similar manner, with Quagliarella prompting the keeper to think fast with a fine parry after Charlie Mulgrew's error allowed Matri to create the chance. The visitors then suffered a blow when Matthews pulled up injured while in pursuit of Peluso and was forced off, with James Forrest taking his place and a quick reshuffle seeing half-time substitute Efe Ambrose move to right-back and Mulgrew drop into central defence.
Samaras hails great journey
The biggest blow of the second half was yet to come, however, in the form of a clinical second for Juventus through Quagliarella. The visitors had been pressing with Ambrose greeting a Mulgrew corner and heading over the bar, while Commons tested the gloves of Buffon from range. However, the Hoops were given a harsh lesson in how to apply the crucial finish when Andre Pirlo found Matri in behind Izaguirre and the striker fed team-mate Quagliarella with a tidy ball, allowing him to slip home from close range and all but end the Hoops' slender hopes.
With the clock ticking down and little to lose, Hooper let rip with an optimistic shot from the edge of the area but his effort dragged wide - succinctly summing up Celtic's fortunes in front of goal. As the encounter entered the final 10 minutes Samaras came close after picking up the ball on the edge of the box but the Greek forward fired wildly over the bar as Juventus saw out the win.
Lennon said: "On the night was it a fair result? Class tells in the end and I think that's what happened with the two games. I think quality counts, at the end of the day. The last 16 is cut-throat and Juventus were clinical over two games."
Georgios Samaras, meanwhile, believes the tournament has been a great experience for Celtic this season after Barcelona were beaten at home in the group phase.
"I would say that it was a great experience for all the lads," Samaras told Sky Sports. "We're a young team with a lot of talent, and that's an experience we'll learn from.
"I think it was a great journey for everyone in the club, the players, the coaches, staff and supporters, they've enjoyed it from the first second to the last. Next year hopefully we'll be back in the Champions League."
|1||1st Half Goals||0|
|5||Shots on Target||5|
|2||Shots off Target||6|
|40||1st Half Poss.||60|
|47.2||2nd Half Poss.||52.8|
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UEFA Champions League Group A
UEFA Champions League Group B
UEFA Champions League Group C
|1||Paris St Germain||5||13|
UEFA Champions League Group D
|4||FC Viktoria Plzen||5||0|
UEFA Champions League Group E
|4||FC Steaua Bucuresti||5||3|
UEFA Champions League Group F
UEFA Champions League Group G
|2||Zenit St. Petersburg||5||6|
UEFA Champions League Group H
Juventus v Celtic
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