|PSG’s Ezequiel Lavezzi (right) celebrates his goal against Valencia with Javier Pastore
(left) and Zlatan Ibrahimovic, in Valencia, on Tuesday. (AFP)
Glasgow: Juventus secured a largely undeserved 3-0 win over Celtic in their Champions League last 16 first-leg tie on Tuesday after an otherwise backs-to-the-wall display to silence almost 60,000 passionate home fans at Parkhead.
Alessandro Matri handed Juve a third-minute lead and they then weathered a Celtic storm in a red-hot atmosphere before Claudio Marchisio struck in the 77th and Mirko Vucinic made it three in the 83rd.
Matri scored after taking advantage of a mistake by Celtic’s Efe Ambrose, who went straight into the team after winning the African Nations Cup with Nigeria on Sunday, and Kelvin Wilson’s valiant attempt to clear on the line came too late.
The Scottish champions, who beat Barcelona in the group stage, launched a series of assaults on goal for the rest of the first half but Kris Commons wasted several chances and a couple of 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 to be perfectly placed to reach the quarter-finals when they host the return leg in Turin on March 6.
Juve goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon had tried to play down the impact of Celtic’s famously noisy fans ahead of the match but even the coolest of Italians would have struggled not to have been affected by the fervent Glasgow atmosphere.
Almost all the Celtic fans in the near 60,000 crowd stood with scarves aloft singing “You’ll Never Walk Alone” before kick-off but they were soon cursing their luck after manager Neil Lennon’s decision to throw Ambrose straight in backfired.
Paris St Germain will be without the talismanic Zlatan Ibrahimovic for the return match but are still favourites to progress after beating Valencia 2-1. The big-spending 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 halftime, in Valencia.
Valencia improved after coach Ernesto Valverde made a couple of astute changes at the break and it was no more than the Spanish team deserved when centre back Adil Rami surged into the area and volleyed home from close range in the 90th minute.
Ibrahimovic was then shown a straight red card for a wild lunge on defender Andres Guardado in the second minute of added time and he will be suspended for the second leg in Paris on March 6.
“I don’t think we relaxed at the end and we could even have scored a third goal on a couple of occasions,” PSG coach Carlo Ancelotti told a news conference.
”The team played a good match. We controlled the ball well and I am pleased with our performance.”
With former England captain David Beckham watching his new PSG team from the stands, Valencia had more of the ball in the early stages without really threatening Salvatore Sirigu’s goal.
The home team were dealt an early 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.