Juventus too strong for spirited Hoops
Celtic's Champions League journey ended at the last-16 stage with a 2-0 (5-0 aggregate) defeat to Juventus after goals from Alessandro Matri and Fabio Quagliarella separated the sides in rain-lashed Turin.
The Serie A leaders took what turned out to be an unassailable three-goal lead from the first leg into the game and any feint hopes of a Hoops comeback ended in the 24th minute when Matri opened the scoring from close range.
Quagliarella notched the second in the 65th minute as the spirited Parkhead men were again punished heavily for a lack of concentration. However, in the final analysis, Celtic can only look at their European campaign in a positive light.
The Hoops won two qualifiers against HJK Helsinki and Helsingborg, before finishing second in Group G to Barcelona, whom they famously beat at Celtic Park, at the expense of Benfica and Spartak Moscow.
The noise inside the ultra-modern Juventus stadium in the early stages was ear-splitting at times but Celtic did not appear intimidated. In the 21st minute the Scottish champions came close to getting the opener when Kris Commons capitalised on slack play to set up Joe Ledley, whose drive from 25 yards whistled just past Gianluigi Buffon's left-hand post.
However, three minutes later any remote chance of a comeback disappeared when Juventus took the lead, after Gary Hooper had lost possession. When Quagliarella's low drive from 16 yards was parried by Fraser Forster, Matri was first to the rebound to knock the ball into the net.
Efe Ambrose replaced Victor Wanyama for the start of the second half and within six minutes right-back Adam Matthews was carried off on a stretcher after appearing to injure his hamstring, his place taken by James Forrest.
In the 58th minute Ambrose headed a Charlie Mulgrew corner past the near post before Commons tried his luck with an effort from long distance which was easily saved by Buffon.
Juventus' second goal was rather simple. Andrea Pirlo's pass found the tireless Arturo Vidal breaking past Emilio Izaguirre and when he squared to Quagliarella the Juve striker tapped into an empty net.
It became a matter of playing out time for both sides although Georgios Samaras fired over the bar from the edge of the box with eight minutes remaining when a goal might have been just reward for Celtic for their efforts over the two games.
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