Celtic suffer disappointing Juve defeat

Mirko Vucinic, centre, scored the third goal for Juventus at Parkhead

Mirko Vucinic, centre, scored the third goal for Juventus at Parkhead

Published in National Sport News © by

Celtic need a football miracle if they are to rescue their Champions League hopes after succumbing to a ruthless Juventus side as they suffered a 3-0 defeat in the first leg of their last-16 clash at Parkhead.

Juve striker Alessandro Matri rocked the Hoops with a third-minute goal only for Neil Lennon's side to battle back ferociously in a breathless encounter where, at times, the visiting penalty box resembled a wrestling ring.

However, despite their best efforts, the Scottish champions were hit by a sucker-punch in the 76th minute when midfielder Claudio Marchisio grabbed a second on the counter before striker Mirko Vucinic grabbed a third in the 83rd minute.

Emilio Izaguirre shrugged off a knee injury to take his place at left-back for Celtic in a 4-5-1 formation, while winger James Forrest returned after recovering from a hamstring complaint, although Georgios Samaras failed to recover from the same injury.

A strong Juventus side in a 3-5-2 formation included star midfielder Andrea Pirlo, the main support behind a front two of Matri and Vucinic.

Midfielder Victor Wanyama set the tone for a frantic start with a speculative shot from distance, which Juve's veteran keeper Gianluigi Buffon let slip out of his hands for a corner that came to nothing.

However, the visitors stormed into the lead with their first real attack, when Federico Peluso's pass caught out Ambrose. Matri poked it past keeper Fraser Forster and although Hoops defender Kelvin Wilson valiantly cleared the ball, it had crossed the line, with Marchisio sweeping it high into the net to make sure.

Juve's threat on the break was very real but Celtic, playing at a high tempo, were undoubtedly on top, although the home support grew increasingly frustrated by referee Alberto Undanio Mallenco's decisions.

Celtic's European hopes lay in tatters after 77 minutes when Marchisio took a pass from Matri, cut inside and fired past Forster at his near post from 12 yards.

Celtic's resistance was broken and with seven minutes remaining Marchisio set up Vucinic to slot past Forster to almost certainly end the Hoops' European involvement for the season.

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