Juventus deflate Celtic
Paris SG beat Valencia away but Ibra sees red
Juventus secured a flattering 3-0 win over Celtic in their Champions League last 16 first-leg tie last night after an otherwise backs-to-the-wall display to silence almost 60,000 passionate home fans at Parkhead.
Alessandro Matri took advantage of a mistake by Celtic’s Efe Ambrose, who won the African Nations Cup with Nigeria on Sunday, to hand the Italians a third-minute lead with Kelvin Wilson’s attempt to clear the ball on the line coming too late.
The Scottish champions, who beat Barcelona in the group stage, launched a series of assaults on Juve’s goal for the rest of the first half but Kris Commons wasted several chances and two penalty appeals against Stephan Lichtsteiner were ignored.
The pace eased in a less frantic second period and the Serie A leaders increased their advantage through Claudio Marchisio and Mirko Vucinic late on to be perfectly placed to reach the quarter-finals when they host the return in Turin on March 6.
Paris St Germain conceded a late goal and had Zlatan Ibrahimovic sent off in added time in a 2-1 win at Valencia in the night’s other match from the Last 16 round.
The Ligue 1 leaders looked to be strolling into the quarter-finals when they took the lead in the 10th minute through Ezequiel Lavezzi and his Argentina team-mate Javier Pastore added a second goal two minutes before half-time.
Valencia improved after coach Ernesto Valverde made a couple of changes at the break and it was no more than they deserved when centre-back Adil Rami surged into the area and volleyed home in the 90th minute.
Ibrahimovic was shown a straight red card for a wild lunge on defender Andres Guardado in the second minute of added time but even without the Sweden striker for the return leg in Paris, PSG will still be favourites to progress.
PSG’s latest signing, former England captain David Beckham, watched from the stands and will return to the French capital with the squad today for his first training session.
Valencia had more of the ball in the early stages but were dealt a blow when Lavezzi exchanged passes with Pastore before racing past his marker into the area and blasting the ball into the net.
Lucas, who struck a long-range effort against a post moments before Lavezzi’s goal, then set up the second goal.
The Brazilian burst into the box from the right and pulled the ball back for fellow midfielder Pastore to send a first-time shot past goalkeeper Vicente Guaita.
Valverde hauled off ineffective midfield pair Ever Banega and Jonas at half-time, throwing playmaker Sergio Canales and forward Nelson Valdez into the fray.
The effect was immediate as the home side looked significantly more dangerous going forward but PSG were waiting to catch Valencia on the break and Lavezzi and Ibrahimovic went close to adding a third before the Swede was dismissed.
“It is a poor result for us but we have some hope and we will try to turn things around in Paris,” Canales told Spanish television broadcaster TVE.
“We knew they would be dangerous going forward but we’ll have to see if we can take some of our chances in the second leg.
“We’ll try to go on the attack and score early to get back in the tie. We know it will be tough but we’re not going to throw in the towel.”
Last 16 – first legs
Celtic vs Juventus - 0-3
Valencia vs Paris St Germain - 1-2
Second legs: March 6.
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