- Champions League
- 12 February 2013, 7:45pm
- Celtic Park
FULL TIME: Celtic's joyous European expedition is probably over, but there's no shame in this defeat, despite this crushing scoreline. Juventus are not champions of Italy for nothing. This was a canny, street-wise performance, absorbing intense Celtic pressure throughout the first half after taking the lead, then sticking the knife in with two devastating late sucker-punches. The second leg in three weeks in Turin will likely be a formality. Celtic will bemoan some perceived injustices from the referee, but mistakes such as those made by Ambrose, at this level, rarely go unpunished.
90 mins: Juventus are killing the game, an art at which Italian teams are so adept. There will be three minutes of added time.
88 mins: Mulgrew's free kick is meat and drink for Buffon. Marchisio is booked for tugging back Wanyama.
85 mins: Vucinic takes his time in leaving the field as he's replaced by Nicolas Anelka, for whom this is his debut following a move from Shanghai.
83 mins: GAME OVER! That completes a nightmare for Ambrose. He over-runs the ball outside his own area and pays a big price. Marchisio whips the ball off his toe, and in the blink of an eye it's 3-0. He slips it inside the area to Vucinic and he buries it under Forster from eight yards to end all doubt about Juventus' place in the quarter-finals. An awful shame for Celtic, for whom this scoreline is horribly unwarranted.
80 mins: A change for either side - ex-Manchester United player Paul Pogba replaces Matri, while Brown goes off for Celtic and Baram Kayal comes on in his stead.
76 mins: JUVENTUS DOUBLE THEIR LEAD!! Marchisio has probably killed off this last-16 tie, I'm afraid. This is the very definition of 'smash and grab'. Lichtsteiner's first time pass plays Marchisio into the left hand side of the area and he cuts inside the covering Brown. He cuts his shot past Forster, who gets a fingertip on it, but the power beats him and the net, fatally, bulges. For the first time tonight, Parkhead is silent.
75 mins: Finally this shoving nonsense that has occurred at every single Celtic corner is stamped down upon by the ref. He books Brown and Padoin (who's just come on for the injured Peluso). Even when the corner does come in, they have their arms all over each other. Ridiculous.
72 mins: Here comes the Barca-slayer Tony Watt, replacing Commons up front. Celtic's intensity has definitely (and understandably) tailed off slightly since half time. "What is it with the ref? Is he wearing those England Cricketers sunglasses?" asks Norma in Doncaster, somewhat cryptically.
69 mins: A wee hiatus as Peluso receives treatment. Celtic get a corner and, before it's taken, Lichtsteiner shoves Brown to the ground, then collapses to the turf himself pathetically. Replays show it to be the most blatant play-acting you could ever wish to see! Farcical.
66 mins: Vucinic has a really good chance as Juventus break down the left, exploiting the space left by Matthews' dash up the field. The ball is cut back for the Montenegro international, he side-foots towards the bottom corner but Wilson sticks a foot out to prevent the tie being put to bed.
65 mins: Fabulous, slaloming run down the right by Matthews, but after travelling from halfway line to byline, his cross is cut out.
63 mins: Again Celtic threaten, Brown's first touch on the right side of the area is perfect and his next act is to pulverise a low cross-shot into the six yard box. It's brilliantly cleared by a sliding defender.
62 mins: *Golden* chance for Ambrose! Oh deary, deary me. Yet again, the delivery from the flanks is excellent - this time from Izaguirre. Juventus leave Ambrose all alone just six yards out. He HAS to bury this header, but heads it down and straight at Buffon! Agony.
60 mins: In a very rare Juventus attack, Matri is flagged offside as he tries to get a toe on to Marchisio's teasing cross.
58 mins: Lustig, who's been excellent, has picked up a knock and limps off the field, replaced by Adam Matthews.
56 mins: Celtic appeals fall on deaf ears *again* as Forrest is nurdled off the ball by Bazagli as he attempts to get a head on another superb Lustig delivery into the box. I was concerned Celtic's tempo was beginning to wane, but that's fired the crowd up again.
53 mins: Celtic direct their ire at the referee again as Izaguirre is denied a free kick. If Celtic do end up losing this, expect some Lennon fury in the after-match presser.
50 mins: Brilliant defending by Brown to win a 50/50 with Peluso, then get to his feet, do a little Cruyff turn in an awkward area on the byline and clear calmly. "Game to finish 1-1, Celtic goal will be a pen, both teams will end with 10 men," says regular contributor Griff in Battersea.
48 mins: Once again, a long bending cross almost reaps rewards for Celtic. Izaguirre's delivery is headed down by Lustig, but the tumbling Commons' scissor kick lacks power and is claimed at the second attempt by Buffon.
46 mins: Celtic begin the second half and, one presumes, will resume their bombardment of crosses, high tempo and aggressive, unsettling approach.
HALF TIME:An absolutely frantic first half. Celtic have played this in the style of an Old Firm derby - high intensity, harrassing, chasing and putting boots in where it hurts. Juventus have simply not been allowed to play their natural game, startled by the ferocity of Celtic's play. Yet it is the Italians who lead after that hugely costly early error by Ambrose, who's perhaps still fuzzy-headed after his African Cup of Nations celebrations. Can the Bhoys make their pressure pay after the break? Stick around.
44 mins: What a chance for Forrest. A low pre-planned corner (Sheringham late 90's style) is skimmed to him but he scuffs it and actually hits his own team-mate Ambrose. A clean connection and that may well have burst the net.
43 mins: Lustig concedes an unnecessary corner. It's played short by Pirlo and worked to the edge of the box for Vial, but his piledriver is blocked and Peluso's follow-up curler is easily gathered by Forster.
41 mins: Forrest is booked for a late challenge on Pirlo. This is getting very tasty indeed. Celtic continue to pump numerous crosses in from both flanks, the latest just too far in front of Hooper for him to nod it on target.
39 mins: Celtic's frantic tempo and determination to chase every lost cause is really frightening Juventus. They simply aren't used to this. Commons' shot on the turn is straight at Buffon from 20 yards.
37 mins: When the corner is eventually taken, Lichtsteiner's arms all wrapped around Hooper again and they both tumble over. Juventus head out for a second corner, which is met by Wanyama (I think) amidst a melee of bodies but he can't keep it down.
36 mins: Lichtsteiner and Hooper push and shove each other as Celtic prepare to take a corner. Both are equally culpable in what is a pretty childish exchange and both are rightly booked.
34 mins: More howls of disbelief around Parkhead as an innocuous clash between Wanyama and Vidal is strangely adjudged as a Juventus free kick.
33 mins: Referee Mallenco fails to play advantage following a Juve foul. Izaguirre had the ball with plenty of space in front of him which he was just about to dash into. Neil Lennon is furious and almost spits his gum out in frustration.
31 mins: Vidal is writhing on the deck holding his foot after a clash of boots with Wanyama. How genuine his apparent agony is, only he knows. There's a break in play as he gets treatment.
29 mins: Celtic camped in the final third for now, slinging crosses in. It's good pressure, but not hugely subtle and it's resisted for now by the Serie A champions.
27 mins: *This* close by Commons! A fabulous effort by the former Forest player. Lustig whips the ball in, it's slightly behind Commons but he performs an instinctive overhead kick that sends the ball dribbling just past the static Buffon's far post.
25 mins: What a pass by Pirlo to send Vucinic into the area. His first touch takes it past Forster, who had dashed out, but it forces the Montenegran striker too wide for him to shoot.
23 mins: Brown snaps at Pirlo's heels, whipping the Italy international into a frenzy of indignation. Was that an imgainary yellow card waved there? No-one likes to see that, even if Brown's challenge was slightly agricultural. Ooh, as I type, the same pair clash once again and tempers flare once more. Spicy.
21 mins: Lustig is well placed to head out a searching ball towards Matri. Celtic have snuffed Juve's threat out well, apart from that Ambrose aberration. "I've had Matri 1st goal and 2-2, £3 at 90/1," says Scott in Stoke. Fingers crossed for you Scotty boy. My 0-0 at 8/1 didn't last long! Also got a win double on Hartlepool and Wycombe. Both goalless thus far.
18 mins: Really good spell of possession for Celtic, but it ends when Lustig's forceful straight ball catches Commons on his heels and it rolls through to Buffon. Newsflash - the goalscorer has now officially been changed to Matri.
16 mins: As an aside, I notice the goal is still being credited officially to Marchisio, but some bookies are paying out on Matri first goalscorer. Matri's shot clearly went over the line first before Marchisio's followed up to make sure.
15 mins: Another chance for Celtic. Izaguirre bends in another excellent cross from the left and Commons, arriving late in the box, is slightly off balance as he skies his shot on the run from only 14 yards.
12 mins: Celtic are harrassing, chasing and closing down like starved tigers hunting bison (or something). The ferocious pre-match atmosphere hasn't been dampened by the goal either. Admirable.
10 mins: Ooh! Commons smacks a low effort towards the bottom corner after Cacareas' clearance comes straight to him, but Buffon plunges to his right to make a terrific save. Celtic haven't let the horror of that early goal upset them.
8 mins: Another chance for Juventus. Bonucci whips in a cross from the left beyond the far post where the stretching Marchisio volleys off target. Worrying early signs of jitters at the back for the Bhoys.
6 mins: Celtic appeal in vain for a penalty as Peluso's elbow clonks Commons in the head as they jostle to meet a left-wing cross. Referee Mallenco turns his back. Seconds later, Wanyana's low drive is held by Buffon.
3 mins: JUVENTUS TAKE THE LEAD! Absolutely dreadful defending by Ambrose, letting a long punt forward bounce after he's nudged off the ball by Matri far too easily. The striker is clean through and pokes the ball underneath Forster. The ball dribbles over the line despite a desperate clearance by Wilson. Marchisio follows up to smash it in, but the goal is Matri's.
1 mins: Wooah! Wanyama whacks one from around 30 yards, it's fading away past the post but Buffon tries to save it awkwardly and fumbles it out for a corner! It's whipped in and hacked away from deep inside the six yard box.
0 mins: "What an atmosphere!" as Russ Abbott once sang. Juventus, clad all in dark blue, get this last-16, first leg tie under way.
1930: So, the Hoops' astonishing European adventure reaches its most tantalising juncture - a last-16 knockout first leg at home to Italian champions Juventus. We've had 'You'll Never Walk Alone' belted out by the east end faithful with scarves held aloft, and I've already nailed three bakewell tarts. *Burp!* Let's rock! "Giovinco 2 break bhoys hearts late on 0-1 after resilient display from home team for most of match," predicts Sam in Manc. Tom in England adds: "2-1 to juve. vucnic and matri for juv. hooper 4 celtic."
Team news: We have Celtic's line-up. Georgios Samaras has failed to recover from a hamstring injury in time for tonight's tie. However, Efe Ambrose starts despite only returning this morning from the Africa Cup of Nations. Emilio Izaguirre starts at left-back and James Forrest begins the game after recovering from a hamstring strain. Full line-up is below.
Nicolas Anelka and Paul Pogba are on the bench for Juve, with Mirko Vucinic starting up front despite a recent knee injury. Paolo De Ceglie misses out with a thigh strain suffered in the win over Fiorentina at the weekend. There's no place for Kwadwo Asamoah who featured in the Africa Cup of Nations final on Sunday.
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- Champions League
- 12 February 2013, 7:45pm
- Celtic Park
Celtic's UEFA Champions League adventure is hanging by a thread after Juventus secured a commanding 3-0 victory from the first leg of their last-16 clash at Parkhead.
Neil Lennon's men produced a display full of desire and determination, pegging the Serie A leaders back for long periods without being able to make the breakthrough, but were undone by early and late defensive errors and another moment of attacking quality from the visitors.
Celtic made a nightmare start as Efe Ambrose, back in the side despite only landing back in Glasgow on the morning of the match after helping Nigeria lift the Africa Cup of Nations, failed to deal with a routine ball forward from Federico Peluso under pressure from Alessandro Matri.
The Juve forward burst into the box and poked his shot under the advancing Fraser Forster, with Kelvin Wilson's desperate attempts to clear off the line coming too late and Claudio Marchisio hammering the loose ball into the net for good measure.
Victor Wanyama tested Gianluigi Buffon from long range twice in the opening six minutes, while Kris Commons did likewise from outside the area before volleying high over the bar from a teasing cross by Emilio Izaguirre.
There was a physical element from both teams, with Scott Brown and Andrea Pirlo clashing on several occasions, while Gary Hooper and Stephan Lichtsteiner were eventually booked in the 37th minute for continually wrestling with each other while awaiting corners.
Commons went close again when his improvised overhead kick from Mikael Lustig's ball into the box flashed narrowly wide of the far post and Wanyama really should have done better when he met a corner unchallenged eight yards out but could only head over the bar as the interval approached.
Celtic saw penalty appeals waved away early in the second period as Lustig's dangerous cross flew across the six-yard box, with Forrest going to ground under pressure from Andrea Barzagli but Spanish referee Alberto Mallenco waved play on.
Ambrose had a glorious opportunity to make amends for his early blunder just after the hour mark as Celtic played a corner out to Charlie Mulgrew with his precision cross picking out the defender in space on the six-yard box, but his weak header down bounced up and straight into Buffon's hands.
Celtic continued to press, although the tempo understandably dropped from the high-octane first-half as the game progressed, but despite forcing a host of corners - one of which saw Brown and Simone Padoin booked for another spell of push-and-shove - they could not breach the backline of the Serie A leaders.
They were hit by a sucker-punch with 13 minutes remaining as Matri dinked a delightful first-time pass through to Marchisio, who cut back inside the desperately back-tracking Brown before firing beyond Forster.
And another costly blunder from Ambrose sealed the game on the night, and very probably the tie ahead of the return in Turin on March 6, as he dawdled on the ball on the edge of his own area, allowing Marchisio to steal possession before playing in Mirko Vucinic to again beat the exposed Forster.