Celtic’s risky approach to taking on hot favorites in their tie, Juventus, played an evil game with them as the Italian giants made the most of their chances and virtually sealed a place in the quarterfinals of the Champions League on Tuesday.
Neil Lennon had been apparently expecting to stun the guests with pressing but Celtic’s offence heavily lacked creativeness while trying to penetrate into Gianluigi Buffon’s box.
Solid in defense this evening, all the Torino side needed was to patiently wait their chances to score in blazing counter-attacks, which didn’t take them much time.
The first mistake of the day by defender Efe Ambrose, who only returned from international duty at the African Nations Cup hours before the match, led to Alessandro Matri’s goal just three minutes into the game.
The current Serie A leaders doubled the score in the 77th courtesy of Claudio Marchisio, who finished a flowing team move by the Italian champions, and Mirko Vucinic capitalized on another Ambrose’s errorsix minutes later to make the return leg a formality for both sides.
"We need a miracle but it's the harsh reality of Champions League football," Lennon said after the game.
"We took a gamble on Efe Ambrose," he also acknowledged.
The other tie between Valencia and PSG also looks a pretty decided thing after the French fat-cats beat the Spaniards on the road 2-1.
Ezequiel Lavezzi and Javier Pastore silenced the home crowd at the Mestalla stadium twice in the first half as all the hosts could manage was a late consolation goal by Adil Rami.
The game also saw PSG’s star Zlatan Ibrahimovic sent off and suspended for a crazy late foul.