CELTIC FC VS JUVENTUS: A MATCH OF THE UNPUTDOWNABLES!!!!!
It has been five long years of wait for the Celtic fans to see their team hit the turf in the round of 16 and when they do this time around its against the mighty Italians, The Old lady, Juventus and the battle will be one that will not only draw blood but also a lot of memories. Juventus also returns to knockout stage after 2008-09, when they lost to Chelsea 1-0 in the first leg only to draw 2-2 in Turin and get eliminated, are bound to play their hearts out against the Scottish side.
Juventus vs Celtic matches have always been part of Champions League folklore with the last meeting being one of the most memorable outings ever in Champions league. The last time round, back in 2001, the first leg was an edge of the seat thriller with Juve taking a two goal lead via David Trezeguet only to allow Celtic to draw level with just 4 minutes left, but at the dying seconds Nicolo Amurosa struck to give Juventus the spoils. The reverse Fixture was an equally interesting affair with Juventus taking the lead via Del Piero only to be put behind by Celtic, but again Juventus equalized. Both teams scored a piece more to knock Celtic out. That as far as my memories goes, was one of the best fixtures I have ever watched in a Champions league, with neither side budging even a bit and matching play with play.
History will be on Celtic’s Side as they have not lost in their last 8 games against Serie A opponents at Celtic Park but the form Juventus is in, being unbeaten in the group stages, it will be tough to stop the Italian Giants. But Celtic having killed Barcelona, the Catalan Giants, in the qualifying round are all set to be the giant killers again. The fact that both team are leading their respective leagues make matters even more interesting giving a proof of the mind set and form both team are in going in to the match.
PLAYERS TO WATCH OUT FOR- Juventus’ old guard Andrea Pirlo, Giovinco and Marchisio would definitely be up on my radar while young Kwadwo Asamoah is another Juventus Player am really putting my bet on. Of course, having Buffon in your nets make matters great and with Barzagli and Bonucci, two of world’s best defender, Juve’s defence will be a tough nut to crack.
For Celtic, Gary Hooper, the phenomenal striker will have to be at his very best along with Wanmaya and the never tiring Georgios Samiras. At goal they have the safe hands of Foster but the rest of the defense looks shaky and it’s obvious that Celtic will play deep leaving just Hooper upfront.
VERDICT- It will be tough game for both the teams as Celtic will have the home advantage and Juventus in tremendous form. But as far as it goes on paper, Juventus definitely have a upper hand, but Champions league is full of surprises and I won’t be much amazed if Celtic avenge their 2001 loss. It’s time to wait with bated breath for the ball to start rolling!!!