Juventus cruised into the quarterfinals of the UEFA Champions League with a comfortable 2-0 win over Celtic at the Juventus Stadium.
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 their progression to the next stage.
Given that advantage, a Juve side with five changes from last Friday's Serie A draw with Napoli predictably showed minimal urgency during the early exchanges and were content to draw Celtic forward and look to hit them on the counterattack.
Joe Ledley was attempting to give the Scottish side some direction from midfield but it was not until the 21st minute that it looked liked breaking through a defense that had conceded just four times in its seven previous European matches this season. The Welshman arrowed a sweetly-struck attempt from 25 yards that came agonizingly close to finding the top corner.
But at the highest level such margins can often prove costly, and Neil Lennon's men suffered a hammer blow as the Bianconeri took the lead three minutes later.
Gary Hooper was caught on the ball by Andrea Barzagli and the center back fed Quagliarella in 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 behind.
However, there was nothing the keeper could do as Giorgios Samaras drifted in from the left and flashed a low cross across the face of the goal. However, Hooper also failed to react quick enough as the pass evaded his stretching toes for an easy goal.
At the start of the second half the Old Lady showed a greater desire to attack and could well have doubled its lead soon after the restart. Matri teed up Quagliarella inside the area from Paul Pogba's pass into 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 over the bar 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 to Quagliarella to add the finishing touch with 65 minutes played.
The tempo of the game soon fizzled out with the outcome clearly finalized, leaving Celtic winless in 10 visits to Italy. The Bianconeri, meanwhile, go marching on into the quarter-finals.
- Sports & Recreation
- Fabio Quagliarella
- Alessandro Matri
- UEFA Champions League
- Gary Hooper