Juventus Rolls Into Champions League Quarterfinals; PSG Advances
Juventus eased into the quarterfinals of soccer’s Champions League, while Paris Saint- Germain held off Valencia to advance.
Juventus beat Celtic 2-0 last night in Italy to complete a 5-0 victory in the two-game round-of-16 series. Alessandro Matri and Fabio Quagliarella scored as Juventus, which has won Europe’s elite club competition twice, reached the final eight for the first time in seven years.
“Class tells in the end and that’s what happened over the two games,” Celtic manager Neil Lennon said on the website of tournament organizer UEFA. “The last 16 is cutthroat and Juventus were clinical over the two games.”
Ezequiel Lavezzi’s goal midway through the second half earned PSG a 1-1 home draw with Valencia and clinched a 3-2 win over two games. The French league leader last reached the quarterfinal round in 1995.
“We fought like dogs,” PSG midfielder Blaise Matuidi said on UEFA’s website. “We showed we are in the mix and will fight to the end.”
Juventus and PSG are joined in the final eight by record nine-time champion Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund, who qualified two nights ago. The remaining quarterfinalists will be determined next week.
After winning the opener 3-0 in Glasgow last month, Juventus increased its advantage in the 24th minute when Matri put in the rebound after Celtic goalkeeper Fraser Forster blocked Quagliarella’s shot.
Juventus made it 2-0 on the night in the 65th minute as Arturo Vidal drew Forster off his line then squared a pass to Quagliarella, who tapped the ball into the open goal.
Juventus, which is unbeaten in 18 home games in European competition, last won the Champions League in 1996. Celtic, the 1967 champion, was in the knockout stage for the first time in five seasons.
“We played a good game, we won and we are in the quarterfinals,” Juventus striker Paul Pogba said. “The game was not as easy as it seemed.”
PSG advanced despite playing without leading scorer Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who was suspended after receiving a red card in the opening 2-1 win in Spain.
Valencia struck first at the Parc de Princes as Jonas Oliveira picked up the ball just outside the penalty area and fired a shot past goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu in the 55th minute to tie the series 2-2.
Lavezzi scored off the rebound 11 minutes later after his initial shot was saved by Vicente Guaita.
PSG is unbeaten in 23 home matches in Europe dating back to 2008.
The Champions League resumes March 12 as Barcelona tries to overturn a 2-0 deficit against AC Milan at home and Schalke hosts Galatasaray with the teams tied 1-1. The next night, Arsenal visits Bayern Munich trailing 3-1 and Porto takes a 1-0 lead to Malaga.