Juventus were absolutely clinical when taking their chances, as Alessandro Matri, Claudio Marchisio and Mirko Vucinic secured a huge 3-0 first leg win at Celtic Park.
Milan had been the only Italian team to conquer Celtic in Glasgow back in 1969.
The Bianconeri were without Giorgio Chiellini, Paolo De Ceglie, Simone Pepe and Nicklas Bendtner, but opted for Federico Peluso on the left and a front two of Alessandro Matri and Mirko Vucinic. The Montenegrin was playing with the aid of heavy strapping to his knee. Celtic striker Georgios Samaras was not even fit for a spot on the bench, but Efe Ambrose was surprisingly started despite only flying in from Africa Cup of Nations duty this morning.
Celtic qualified for the Round of 16 after a shock home victory over Barcelona, while Juve recovered from a poor start to win their group, eliminating Champions League holders Chelsea. After 70 seconds Gigi Buffon palmed a Victor Wanyama long-range effort round the post, though it looked to be going wide anyway.
Juventus took the lead in chaotic circumstances moments later. A long ball forward was flicked on by Matri to surprise both Fraser Forster and Ambrose, then it was cleared off the line by Kelvin Wilson before Claudio Marchisio finished it off. However, replays show the ball had already gone over, so the goal belongs to Matri and it is the first Champions League strike of his career.
Buffon smothered another Wanyama effort, but Marchisio turned wide at the back post after another dangerous Juve move took advantage of Ambrose’s jet-lag. Buffon blocked from Kris Commons after a poor Martin Caceres clearance. Emilio Izaguirre whipped in a cross from the left that Commons volleyed well over from the penalty spot.
A long Pirlo pass allowed Vucinic to dribble round Forster, but the angle was too narrow and the follow-ups from Arturo Vidal and Matri were charged down.
A Commons overhead kick whistled just wide with Buffon rooted to the spot. Stephan Lichtsteiner and Gary Hooper were both booked for their tussle in the box and when the corner was eventually taken, Wanyama turned a free header over.
Commons again fired straight at Buffon, while Vidal’s shot was charged down. Just before the break another Celtic corner proved dangerous, but James Forrest’s effort was bizarrely blocked off by his own teammate.
Juve seemed to be sitting back and soaking up pressure in the second half, but Celtic lost Mikael Lustig to injury. A corner was played out wide and a cross whipped in for the unmarked Ambrose, who nodded straight at Buffon from eight yards.
Marchisio pulled back from the left flank for Vucinic, whose angled drive was beaten away by Wilson just in front of the six-yard box. Federico Peluso was carrying a knock and twice collapsed with cramp, so had to make way for Simone Padoin.
Brown and Lichtsteiner had another coming-together waiting for a corner, as a small shove from the Swiss winger sent the Celtic man tumbling. Brown was later booked for a tussle with Padoin, as each Celtic corner saw jostling for position.
Juve were sitting back and waiting to strike on the counter, which they did with Marchisio 13 minutes from time. Matri intelligently flicked on a pass first time with the outside of his boot for Marchisio, who pulled back to confuse Brown and smash under the bar.
The Bianconeri switched to one striker and it paid off, as they put more pressure on with Padoin and Marchisio robbing Ambrose in the final third to set up Vucinic for his angled drive.
Nicolas Anelka completed the party with his debut in a Juventus jersey and the Italian fans silenced the locals in the final stages. Anelka has now matched Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s record of playing in the Champions League with six different clubs.
Celtic 0-3 Juventus
Scorers: Matri 3 (J), Marchisio 77 (J), Vucinic 83 (J)
Celtic: Forster; Lustig (Matthews 59), Wilson, Ambrose, Izaguirre; Forrest, Brown (Kayal 81), Wanyama, Mulgrew; Commons (Watt 73), Hooper
Juventus: Buffon; Barzagli, Bonucci, Caceres; Lichtsteiner, Vidal, Pirlo, Marchisio, Peluso (Padoin 69); Matri (Pogba 81), Vucinic (Anelka 86)
Ref: Undiano Mallenco (SPA)
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