On a wet and rainy night in Turin, Italy, Juventus booked their place in the last eight of the UEFA Champions League with a 2-0 win over Celtic.Both Juventus’ strikers, Alessandro Matri and Fabio Quagliarella, were on the score sheet. Gianluigi Buffon also held Celtic scoreless and extended the club’s record of clean sheets in the Champions League to five matches.
Both managers made several changes to their squads with respect to the first leg. Juventus gave starts to Luca Marrone, Simone Padoin, Paul Pogba and Quagliarella while Georgios Samaras and Adam Matthews came back into Celtic’s squad. Juventus kept their same shape with a 3-5-2 formation while Celtic played in an attacking 4-1-2-1-2.
The rain rendered a slower pace to the game but that did not stop Celtic’s urge to attack. Celtic pressured from the first whistle with clear intentions to score and reduce the 3-0 aggregate. The Scottish side sent numerous men surging forward into the box on each attack with Emilio Izaguirre sending many driven balls into the box. Their play seemed a somewhat forced and desperate at times and played like a team with only half a match to reduce the aggregate score.
Juventus started sluggishly and failed on many occasions to properly clear the ball out of their own box. This resulted in a continuous Celtic attack inside Juventus’ own half. A shot in the 21st minute by Celtic’s Joe Ledley was the first noteworthy attempt of the match. The Juventus defense limited Celtic to a few scattered chances, ultimately posing no threats to the Italian defense. Juventus dealt with Celtic’s crosses quite easily throughout the entire match as Andrea Barzagli or Leonardo Bonucci were physically dominant in the air.
In the beginning of the match, Andrea Pirlo was pressured and forced to send long, searching balls over the defense for Quagliarella and Matri to run onto. Once Juventus calmed down a bit, they started to absorb more of Celtic’s heavy pressure and relied to counter the Scottish side on the break. They patiently and expertly waited for a lapse in the Celtic defense in order to surge forward.
The theme of Juventus’ play over the course of the two legs was how they exploited chances. In the 24th minute Federico Peluso burst forward in the midfield and played a ball into the feet of Quagliarella, who took a touch and fired an attempt on goal. The keeper’s save fell right to Matri, who fired a close range shot in the bottom right corner to take the lead at one nil.
Continued Celtic Pressure
Celtic continued to attack and control possession even with the aggregate score at 4-0. In the 27th minute, Hooper deflected Kris Commons’ shot to produce a fine reaction save by Buffon. Samaras demonstrated his technical ability in the 35th minute when he beat two Juventus defenders and fired a tempting ball along the face of goal. Hooper’s slide attempt was a second to late and the scored remained 1-0. A few minutes later a Biram Kayal header was directed straight on goal and Buffon comfortably handled it.
The first half ended with numerous Celtic crosses in the Juve box which were comfortably cleared away.
Juventus deliver final blow
The Bianconeri submitted Celtic under high pressure in the start of the second half. Juventus effectively closed out the match in the 65th minute. Arturo Vidal’s well-timed run was rewarded with Pirlo’s pass over the top, as the Chilean neatly chest trapped the ball and squared to Quagliarella. The Italian international’s left footed tap in brought the aggregate to 5-0.
Juventus then once again sat back and let Celtic freely attack them. The Turin side continued to absorb pressure but instead of quickly counterattacking, tried to retain some form of possession. The match ended with numerous, desperate shots by the Scottish side who were simply outclassed over the course of the two legs. The match ended 2-0 and 5-0 on aggregate.
Juventus now await the quarterfinal draw to determine their next opponents.