Wednesday February 13 2013
Decisive Matri showing true form

Alessandro Matri starred as a clinical Juventus put one foot in the Champions League quarter-finals with a win at Celtic. Luca Cetta writes.

As Juventus’ defenders jostled and harassed at one end of the pitch on Tuesday night, Alessandro Matri was busy confirming his recent purple patch. The Juventus striker netted the first at Celtic Park when he capitalised on an Efe Ambrose error and was instrumental in the Bianconeri’s second, superbly finding Claudio Marchisio. Juve all but ensured their passage to the last eight when Mirko Vucinic coolly sealed the 3-0 result following another Ambrose blunder.

In between Matri’s early opener and the late brace was a steely performance. Gianluigi Buffon and his cohorts were tested, but rarely troubled. For all Celtic’s endeavour, they created only one heart-stopping moment. Amid it all, Juve kept their fourth consecutive Champions League clean sheet and became the first Italian club to score 700 goals in European competitions.

Questions have surrounded Juve’s attacking ranks this term and Matri has bore the brunt of criticism. Early season performances suggested a player lacking confidence, let down by his usually trusty finishing ability. Even Nicklas Bendtner got a look-in ahead of the former Cagliari man. He was a shadow of the player who rippled the net with consistency in the 12 months following the move from Sardinia.

“I’m not satisfied with being a reserve, I’m working to play in the starting XI. Pecking orders have to be respected, but you can try and change them,” noted Matri two weeks ago. Like a boxer on the ropes he has fought back to give Antonio Conte a welcome selection headache. Starting with the late December win over Cagliari, Matri has looked like his old self.

That night at the Stadio Ennio Tardini he filled Juventus with Christmas joy by scoring a crucial late brace after entering the pitch as a substitute in the come-from-behind victory over his former club. Since the turn of the year Mitra Matri has netted three Serie A goals in four matches – including a sumptuous volley at Chievo. Saturday’s strike against Fiorentina was reminiscent of the Matri Juve forked out €18million for in January 2011. From fourth or fifth choice, Matri is now a regular in the Bianconeri XI.

This at a time when his future was placed under the microscope. Nicolas Anelka was signed for the present and Fernando Llorente for the future. Yet that only served to spur the Lombardy native on. Matri brushed off any fears his future was away from Turin. “I never felt as if my future was in the balance last month. Neither the club or my agent told me anything.”

His goal at the weekend confirmed a starting spot alongside Vucinic at Celtic Park. Just three minutes in Matri would reward that decision. He benefitted from Ambrose’s indecision to race on to Federico Peluso’s long pass and poke home. The ball crossed the line, but only just, to give Matri his first Champions League goal. All he had was a sniff. All he needed was a sniff. It was the goal of a confident player.

That was one half of the equation. The other was the hardworking Matri, one who chased, battled and led the forward line with distinction. He was a willing runner and brought others into the game. None more so than Marchisio – another excellent performer - who scored the second goal after Matri’s deft flick.

“Matri contributed to a fine goal, as it came from a situation we had practiced many times in training,” said Conte. “I had to work very hard before being worthy of Juventus. Alessandro is working very hard now and improving in terms of his knockdowns and assists.” Former Juve players and European Cup winners Paolo Rossi and Alessio Tacchinardi were also quick to praise the striker.

Juve are poised to qualify for the quarter-finals thanks to their away victory, even if the players stressed the tie is not over. However, the Old Lady will go into the return fixture with a greater degree of comfort. Their triumph was built on a rock solid foundation and taken to the next level by the type of Matri performance fans have been crying out for. He did his standing in the squad no harm.

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Have your say...
Juventus were magnificent at Celtic Park and Antonio Conte proved again just what a tactical genius he is. We were strong,resilient, would not allowed to be bullied, fought fire with fire and were ruthless and clinical. Celtic's complaints are pathetic. Celtic's tactics were to block Buffon on every set piece, all Lichtsteiner was doing was protecting his goalkeeper. Scott Brown tried to kick Pirlo all night, but was put in his place and on his backside by the Master. FORZA CONTE!! FORZA JUVE!!
on the 15th February, 2013 at 5:48am

"a lot of people are saying all this rubbish about how celtic dominated juventus. They didn't!!!!"

Lol, they really did. But who cares Juve came out as winners.
on the 14th February, 2013 at 8:06pm
juves play was not smart or tactically astute. conte did not envisage his team being bossed so badly. the way the celtic players ran was too much for juve. celtic still managed so many crosses and had a good scoring chance. this is excluding the countless penalty shouts they had.

as a juve fan i don't miind playing counter attack footy v barca but not celtic. i am equally disgusted in hugging players on corners. when i play footy i dont hug players, i save that for my girlfriend. disappointed
on the 14th February, 2013 at 6:45pm
Too many ppl r deluded when assessing juve's performance v Celtic. a few ppl are now making excuses by saying it was conte's gameplan to soak up pressure. that was the obvious gameplan, however it wasnt that simple.

juve got dominated in every way. any team that goes away to park the bus is pathetic, unless your playing a team that is superior. celtic is not superior 2 juve. juve should have gone down there and played their own game.
on the 14th February, 2013 at 6:40pm
@Anonymous, the reality is football culture is different in every league, do you think Juve are obliged to play a game YOU want? You have zero right to request how they play, if Conte has an approach in mind thats his choice, NEVER yours. Nobody stated we 'breezed' past them, we OUTSMARTED them. Dont be so ingorant to other forms of football, Juve showed how dynamic they can be. If you want a dominate performance, watch the return leg. Or go watch Barca play the same way EVERY game.
on the 14th February, 2013 at 3:57pm
a lot of people are saying all this rubbish about how celtic dominated juventus. They didn't!!!!

it was all part of juves game plan, to soak up pressure, wear them out, and strike when the chance presented itself.

sure they could have opened up play more, but they aired on the side of caution, as they knew celtic could steal a few goals, and the barcelona slaying wouldn't have helped their nerves.

this is the same team that would have beat chelsea 2 - 0 if not for oscars wonder goals.
on the 14th February, 2013 at 3:48pm
Don't get carried away, the result makes it look like Juve breezed through, they were dominated by a team they should destroy, Celtic play in one of the worst leagues in Europe, they are a terrible team who lose to teams that are not even division 2 quality. Juve may or may not have let them dominate, but the reality is Juve should have took them to task, contorlled the game and won comfortably. Last year juve were one of the best in europe at keep ball, they should have contorlled the game.
on the 14th February, 2013 at 12:41pm
Some interesting differing of opinions on here. I can see both viewpoints. Conte's tactics were very smart, and effective. However, I am sure that even he would tell you that he wasn't very happy with the ball retention. Juve were very sloppy with their distribution at times, inviting unnecessary pressure on themselves. Bonucci's passing, in particular was poor, and against a better attack, Juve would have been punished. Buffon gave the correct assessment of the game!
on the 14th February, 2013 at 10:39am
and to the fella who mentioned Vidal, it look like and defo sounds like after reading his post match coment that the occasion got to him physically has never come up against blud and guts tactics like celtics! all part of a learnin curve he is PURE! class! we do need a plan B and a switch of formation when needed and an alternative to Pirlo as he does get caught and dwels on the ball necessarily at times still class though. Dont forget we still have no PEPE, ISLA, ASAMOAH, CHELLINI!
on the 14th February, 2013 at 8:27am
Guys i think ppl are goin OTT about this yes we won and it was a top result! BUT! we should not have let celtic push us back so much in the 1st place. It isnt an easy place to go an play and all celtic did was run and thats about it. We do need to step up our game if we want to get to further. Dont forget what we did at stamford bridge! and to chelski at home we wiped the floor with them. im afraid we STILL! lack upfront Matri is hot and cold and Vucinic too. Just enjoy the ride and lets see
on the 14th February, 2013 at 8:23am
LOL at all the butthurt non-Juve fans on here.Juve were defensive for a reason, Conte knew celtic wouldn't trouble us if we gave up possession cause they lack creativity. Was it risky? Hell yeah but that's what great managers do, they have to make difficult decisions and invariably get it right. If you think Juve would surrender possession so easily against the likes of United or Madrid then you've got another thing coming, underestimate this team at your own peril
on the 14th February, 2013 at 5:03am

FYI, Bilbao the one who don't want to released Llorente read more news pls LOL

Celtic outplayed Juve ?

Celtic 49% Possesion while Juve with 51% ( UEFA official site), Juve punished them on counter attack with 3 Goals, I repeat THREE goals, NO it's not came from PENALTY kick.

You criticise juve for being defensive and scored 3, while to you it's different story when celtic played defensive and beat WORLD CLASS barca?

What's the point of being Outplayed opponent when you LOST?
on the 14th February, 2013 at 4:46am
Are you guys kidding me? Who are these "worried" ppl? Did you take a second to think that these were tactics by Conte? Why go out all guns blazing against a team with nothing to lose? Think. We let them play, yes. But where? Apart from a header, they didn't have a clear cut chance- we had three, and took them! That's the difference in quality. They got to keep the ball in front of our MF- around 35yds out for the most part. We won 3-0 and didn't shift out of 2nd gear! Worried? Europe should be!
on the 14th February, 2013 at 4:19am

Ok Mr. Smart Coach, what do u think the best strategy against Celtic on their home ground? full attack like Zeman? LOL

That's called strategy mate! they defend when attacked and when they had the chance then counter attack, that's how Italy play most of the time, Italy don't do rush attack like English/Scottish.

If you think worrying performance could beat 0-3 a physical team on their home ground, I don't need to worry!

Milan played as good as Juve, NOT? only Lazio/Napoli are !!
on the 14th February, 2013 at 3:54am
I'm no Juve fan, but you have to give them full credit for their win. They shut out Celtics, gave them very few chances and scored 3 goals. As a coach couldn't care less if the other team had 90% of the possession as long as my team finished in the opposite end on our possession.

And don't forget, in Champions League play Celtics had only being beaten twice ever at home--both by Barca. An away victory at Celtic Park isn't easy to come by.
on the 14th February, 2013 at 1:57am
Wow, what are some of these people talking about? Juve just showed how complete they are. Against Celtic, sit back in control, weather the storm and sting on the counter attack 3-0. Against Chelsea, press them in their half, dominate possession 3-0. Any variation, adapt and deal with it with organization, grit and quality. All of Italy should be proud! Forza Juve!!!
on the 14th February, 2013 at 12:36am
How can anyone say Juve were world class yesterday? The got a result and that was it. Comparing the Barca result is silly as in that game Celtic defended thruout but last nite actually outplayed Juventus. I don't watch Juve much any longer but please tell me Vidal is better that what I saw last nite as he was horrible. Vucinic too was hopeless bar his goal. I do think Juve can beat Barca over 2 legs but need better strikers. Not sure why LLorente was not bought when hes not cuptied. Anelka lol
on the 13th February, 2013 at 11:34pm

Yeah you won and I give you my congrats for that. Great win. However, in terms of football you did not show the quality i expected from Juve. You barely attacked and still won with 0-3. Great result, worrying performance.


The whole "suck a lolipop" thing you try is just embarrassing. The sooner you stop using that phrase the better.

IMO, Ac Milan play just as good football currently as Juve, the only reason were behind is the horrid start we had.
on the 13th February, 2013 at 11:29pm
I was really impressed with Peluso last night, from his time at Atalanta I knew he was a good player but I didn't think he'd be good enough for a team like Juve. He had a poor first game but since then he has played well, I can see why Conte wanted him so much
on the 13th February, 2013 at 11:27pm
BOSS....Celtic beat Barcelona. They are no push overs. Juve do need to improve, but Celtic are not a team you can just steam roll. They have quality too.
on the 13th February, 2013 at 10:45pm

I'm seeing a couple of jealous, hypocritical, stupid and lack-of-football knowledge Milanista. So, you might wanna go to your rooms, and suck on a lollipop.
on the 13th February, 2013 at 10:33pm
@BOSS Juve no need a supporter like you, the beloved team won by 0 - 3 and all you can is complaining? If you think Celtic players skilling Juve players well all I can say skills aint nuthin if your team end up 0 and the opponent whose less skilled had 3 on the score board. And why dont you support madrid, man u and barca instead? Juve defended well and punished Celtic on the counter attack. Your supposed "skilled" team got tricked by Matris flick to Marchisio!
on the 13th February, 2013 at 10:19pm
to boss first of all juve weren't able to play their usual football not because of fear but due to the fact that celtic players were very aggressive and juventus never showed fear. as for winning in celtic park it says volume that the last Italian team ever winning in celtic park was milan 1-0 back 1969 give credit to the team
on the 13th February, 2013 at 10:11pm

Your compliment stop only at CONGRATS, the rest nothing.

If your owner wasn't PM you would be relegated to serie B aswell as Milan as guilty as Juve did, and your sister city Inter did the worst and both of milans teams go unpunished.

To rebuild a team after 2006 ain't easy and we can see now Juves hard work paid off, a lot of potential in Conte's team consider its only his 2nd years with juve.

And for you just worried about Milan going through EL next year or maybe NOT!
on the 13th February, 2013 at 10:08pm
Well done Juve. It was nice watching Celtic get beaten 3-0 at Celtic park. Matri gave a nice lay of pass for marchisio on the second goal. I still don't like this three defenders at the back system. It was giving Celtic too much Possession. Celtic should stop moaning and try and play some technical football rather than the old British chicken chase football. I hope Juventus win the second leg by a comfortable score margin.
on the 13th February, 2013 at 9:06pm

I just gave compliments to Juve for winning. You dont consider that as something good?

Shady balotelli pent? Against Cagliari Astori more or less climbed all over him.. Stupid defending. Clear pent. The first one was NOT a pent I agree.

Juve will be Juve? Hopefully youll go far, you havent done that in god know how many years?
on the 13th February, 2013 at 7:01pm
For the juve fans who enjoy scraping through, then that is fine, you will no doubt be impressed with what you saw yesterday. I like juve, but there was no intensity yesterday. There was so much fear. Misplaced passes. Celtic's stadium was too much for them. Celtic spent most of the game in our half. Imagine if that was barca or Man U. Juve simply can not play like that, with fear.

Pirlo should have been removed as well. Loses possession easily and can not win it back, does not run
on the 13th February, 2013 at 6:25pm
@Gio - i am extremely concerned about you. you say you thought juve looked world class and unbeatable? were you watching the same game as me?

I support juve but im honest about what i see. Juve got their behinds kicked. At one point i saw a celtic player skilling juve players, it was pathetic. I think ahead, to the madrids, man u's, barca's. If juve got outplayed, outskilled and outwokred by Celtic, i dread playing a team with the slightest bit of extra quality to wht celtic possess.
on the 13th February, 2013 at 6:22pm
Thank you Mike for clearing that up. At the rate the Scottish commentators were going on, as if Celtic should have been gifted a penalty for every corner they had which reminds me of the gifted penalty Barcelona had last season against Milan.

Its funny how Celtic manager Lennon accuse Juventus of rugby style tactics when his team was clearly more physical. Oh well...
on the 13th February, 2013 at 5:26pm
@viktor nothing good coming out from u lol pipo will be pipo matri is matri people just saying that doesnt mean they r the same, chill out and stop worrying bout juve, u got milan to worry about.

Oh what happen to susy ? No blog about this ? Or blog about shady balotellis penalty kick ?

Oh well juve will always be juve

Barzagli awsome, actually peluso recently played better he has nice crossing to be honest and quick at attacking and back to defense.

Crytic fans stop whining bout lich lol
on the 13th February, 2013 at 5:26pm

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