Celtic vs. Juventus: Final score 0-3, Juventus leave Celtic Park in complete control

Stu Forster

A massive defensive mistake by Efe Ambrose in the 3rd minute gifted Juventus an early lead and two late goals from Claudio Marchsio and Mirko Vucinich have Juventus with one foot firmly planted in the next round.

It just wasn't a good night for Celtic as the Hoops fell 3-0 to Juventus thanks in large part to defensive mistakes. Hoops defender Efe Ambrose's massive defensive error in the opening minutes of the match staked Juventus to an early lead and despite playing well, Celtic couldn't break Juve down. Two late goals for Juventus basically have them on to the next round.

One expects that if Celtic manager Neil Lennon had any nightmares concerning this match against Juventus, it involved his side giving up a goal early. Not only did Celtic do that, it was a massive defensive train-wreck that led to the opening goal.

In the 3rd minute Celtic defender Efe Ambrose, fresh off a plane from the Africa Cup of Nations, horribly misplayed a long ball down the left side, allowing Alessandro Matri around him. Fraser Forster wasn't quick enough off his line and Matri's shot got past him before being cleared off the line (replay showed it crossed the line). In the end it didn't matter as Claudio Marchisio was following up the play and blasted the shot in to the back of the net, giving Juventus the early 1-0 lead.

Kris Commons came every so close to equalizing for Celtic in the 28th minute, sending an overhead kick attempt spinning just wide of the post. Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon never saw the play and was frozen, so he would have had no chance of making a stop if the effort had been on target.

Celtic continued to have the better of play as the half came to a close but they weren't sharp enough with the final pass or their shots to fully test Juventus.

More of the same in the first 15 minutes of the second half. Celtic had the better of the ball but simply couldn't do anything with it. On those occasions they were able to get within striking distance, an errant pass diffused the pressure. When they were able to get some space on the wing and fire in a cross, Juventus' back three were more than up to the task, dealing with everything Celtic sent at them.

Even Rod Stewart, who was in the crowd, looked frustrated.

In the 62nd minute, Ambrose was left wide open in the center of the Juventus box, roughly six yards from Buffon. Charlie Mulgrew found him with a perfectly placed cross but the best Ambrose could do is put a pedestrian headed attempt right into Buffon's waiting mitts. Just an absolute nightmare evening for the Celtic defender.

Juventus put the finishing touches on the game and likely the tie, in the 77th minute. Matri cleverly redirected a pass right in to the path of Marchsio who made a fantastic move to stop dead in his tracks, allowing Scott Brown to fly past him. Marchsio then lined up his shot and powered the ball off Forster's hands into the Celtic net, making it 2-0.

Four minutes later Celtic were picked apart again. Ambrose was involved yet again taking far too much time on the ball before being disposed by Marchisio. The midfielder quickly moved the ball to the unmarked Mirko Vucinic, on the left side of the Celtic box, who easily beat a helpless Forster.

The story of the match in the end was simply that Celtic didn't have the quality to truly challenge a Juventus team that was definitely susceptible to being picked apart. A bette side, or perhaps just Celtic on a better day, could have had two or three goals but it just wasn't to be.

Giving up goals thanks to massive defensive errors will hurt you in any match, doing it against a team like Juventus on the Champions League stage is the equivalent of a dagger through the heart.

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