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Football

Victories for Juventus and PSG

Celtic need at least three goals to fight their way back into Champions League tie as PSG win away at Valencia.
Last Modified: 12 Feb 2013 22:46
After a hard-fought performance from Celtic, Claudio Marchisio scores Juventus' crucial second goal [GETTY]

Juventus virtually sealed their place in the quarterfinals of the Champions League on Tuesday, punishing poor defending with some clinical finishing to beat Celtic 3-0 in their last-16 first leg.

Mistakes by Celtic defender Efe Ambrose led to goals by Alessandro Matri in the third minute and Mirko Vucinic in the 83rd. Claudio Marchisio had scored the second at the end of a flowing team move by the Italian champions and current Serie A leaders in the 77th.

The score line was harsh on Celtic, who dominated the first half and most of the second, only to lack a cutting edge to beat Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon.

The second leg is in Turin on March 6, when Juventus will look to finish the Scottish champions off and maintain their unbeaten run in this season's competition.

Antonio Conte's side will know they rode their luck in Glasgow, though. 

Celtic showed by beating Barcelona in the group stage that the team is a match for anyone at their intimidating Celtic Park home, and they posed Juventus all sorts of problems with their relentless work rate and high pressing game.

Even Italy midfielder Andrea Pirlo, usually so composed and elegant in center midfield, was clearly ruffled at being hustled and harried but Celtic couldn't find the finish to go with its build-up play.

And the hosts conceded avoidable goals at either end of the match

Ambrose was at fault for both the goals - and Celtic manager Neil Lennon may regret playing the Nigeria center back on the day he landed in Scotland after more than a month away with his country at the African Nations Cup. 

Late lifeline

Paris Saint-Germain take a 2-1 lead into the second leg of their Champions League last-16 tie against Valencia, but a dramatic late turn of events handed the Spanish side a lifeline.

Going into the 90th minute at the Mestalla, the French league leaders appeared in cruise control thanks to first-half goals from Ezequiel Lavezzi and Javier Pastore.

However, French international centre-back Adil Rami found the net in the final minute to keep Valencia in the tie, before PSG had Zlatan Ibrahimovic controversially sent-off for a studs-up challenge on Andres Guardado.

The Swede, who has been criticised in the past for failing to produce his very best in the Champions League knockout stages, will now miss the return leg at the Parc des Princes next month, but at least PSG will have a lead to defend in that game.

Despite the ending, for much of the evening this was a classic away European performance from the French league leaders, as Carlo Ancelotti's side ceded possession to their hosts but were always a threat on the counter-attack.

History suggested that this would be a major test for PSG, who were playing a knockout tie in Europe's top club competition for the first time since 1995.

Since then, Valencia had reached two Champions League finals, and had never been beaten by French opposition at their Mestalla home.

However, PSG backed by massive investment from their Qatari owners are emerging as a major continental force, and they travelled to Spain with their confidence buoyed by a run of 12 matches without defeat in all competitions.

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Source:
Agencies
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